Thursday, October 14, 2010

European Rail Freight Takes A Small Step Forward

Cargo 10 Project Unifies More Than Old Yugoslavian Factions
Shipping News Feature

EASTERN EUROPE – Many of us old stagers still remember the united Yugoslavia with a certain fondness and the Tito era saw the easy passage of freight by rail through the united state from Turkey into the West and vice versa. The conflicts at the end of the last century saw an end to the simplification of import and export procedures but now it seems the Balkan states are awakening to the fact that unity is the key to profitability in the new world order.

Last month officials from Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia signed up to a new company, Cargo 10, named after the pan European multimodal road freight and rail corridor which is to join Salzburg, and all points West, to Turkey and Greece via the three states. Now the company has announced they have been joined by another interested party, Bosnia-Herzegovina giving even more scope for expansion.

Officials from the countries involved are making what looks like a shrewd investment as a rail link for shipping cargo will undoubtedly prove most economical as time passes, not to say more environmentally acceptable than trucking alone. Between them the four states are no economic giants, with comparatively little in the way of trade but stern management can see journey times cut by over 50% in many cases if and when the whip is cracked over the backs of Customs officials and other workers unused to commercial pressures other European states take for granted.

The ‘new’ route for rail freight may then be able to take traffic from existing carriers like DB Schenker and on alternative routes now commonly used such as Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria plus picking up existing and new road haulage traffic and eating into the bulk container freight which Turkey has become accustomed to shipping by ocean freight for lack of an economic alternative.

The new company is based in Ljubljana, Slovenia (an EU member state) and began operating at the beginning of this month. Given the right management Cargo 10 could set up an interesting challenge to others coveting the same markets.

Photo:- Croatian Locomotive