European rail companies expect strong growth in 2008
Executives from two European container-on-rail companies rolled out a new marketing program Tuesday in the United States, to make Americans more aware of what has become a booming business in Europe.
Gerhard Oswald, managing director of German intermodal company TFG Transfracht, said his company, which delivers containers to and from Hamburg and Bremerhaven and inland locations, is expecting a 10 percent increase in traffic in 2008.
TFG handled 932,000 TEUs in 2007, and expects to handle more than 1 million TEU this year. It serves hinterland locations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and is planning an expansion into Hungary. It has about 50 percent share of the markets it serves.
Oswald met with members of the press to promote Intermodal Europe, a new initiative, along with Walter Schulze-Freyberg, chief executive of Polzug, which offers similar services connecting Eastern Europe and former member states of the Soviet Union with Hamburg, Bremerhaven and Rotterdam.
Polzug, which moved 140,000s TEU last year expects to see volumes jump to 160,000 to 170,000 TEUs this year.
The two companies have common owners. TGF is a 50-50 partnership of DB Mobility Logistics AG and HHLA Intermodal GmbH. The same two companies each own one-third of Polzug, with the remaining third owned by the PKP Cargo S.A., the Polish national railway.
Schulze-Freyberg noted that transport has changed dramatically with the fall of the iron curtain.
'New areas are now our classical hinterland in Hamburg, and in Bremerhaven and also in Rotterdam, which means Russia, Poland and all these countries are now part of Europe and the transport volumes into those areas are growing dramatically,' he said. 'In 2007 in Hamburg we had about 10 million TEUs. Our expectations in the next 10 years are to double this, and there are forecasts that say it will be more than doubling. And the same thing in happening in Bremerhaven.'
Schulze-Freyberg noted that Poland and other Eastern Europe countries are not only major consuming markets, but also industries such as automotive parts, furniture, and chemicals are ramping up production in the region, resulting in an increase in container transportation.
TFG, founded in 1969, has more than 15,000 connections annually and serves some 20 terminals. The company's AlbatrosExpress rail system transports 4,500 TEUs daily with all moves carried out within 12 to 36 hours.
Earlier this year, TFG launched its new Dispo Center for customers who want to book shipments with an easily accessible tool via the Internet. Customers using the system can obtain an overview of the status of both container reservations, and regular transports around the clock. Customers can access immediate information concerning reservations requiring order data or location of containers. The TFG Dispo Center is an extension of the current online reservation center, which was used to commission more than 150,000 container transports in 2007. ' Chris Dupin