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EWG, the largest and most modern land-based intermodal terminal in Europe

EWG, the largest and most modern land-based intermodal terminal in Europe
photo: RAILTARGET/EWG is the largest and most modern land-based intermodal terminal in Europe
25 / 10 / 2022

The East-West Gate (EWG) intermodal terminal, built near the Ukrainian-Hungarian border in Fényeslitke, Hungary, with a private investment of more than HUF 40 billion, is located at the junction of the standard and wide gauge railway tracks. It can handle up to one million twenty-foot containers (TEUs) per year and is the largest such facility on the continent in terms of both theoretical capacity and area.

Built on an 85-hectare site, the terminal allows containers to be trans-loaded between wide and standard gauge, as well as between rail trains and trucks. EWG is also suitable for loading full trucks and conventional road semi-trailers onto the rail. This will allow shifting as much of the freight traffic arriving by truck at the EU border to rail as possible, in line with the EU's climate objectives.

In addition, the EWG is also preparing for the trans-loading of Ukrainian agricultural products, adapting to the war situation. From November 2022, it is expected to be capable of handling 800 tonnes of grain and 450 cubic meters of sunflower oil per hour, making it the largest rail hub for Ukrainian food exports.

The terminal has a total of around ten kilometers of standard and wide-gauge railway track, as well as 225,000 square meters of concrete pavement for road transport and container storage. A 15,000-square-metre temperature-controlled warehouse is also available for use by the partners, and there is also space for additional warehouses and assembly plants.

The investor is East-West Intermodal Logistics Zrt

EWG is independent and its services are available to any rail and road freight company in the world, open to all freight operators and transport companies. The terminal's investor has signed a cooperation agreement with EUROGATE Rail Hungary (ERH) Zrt., the leading European container terminal operator's Hungarian rail subsidiary of the EUROGATE Group, to integrate the terminal in Fényeslikte into the European rail freight route network. The ERH offers direct rail freight connections between Hamburg, Duisburg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest, and Arad and the EWG terminal in Fényeslitke, in addition, clients of ERH can use EWG's trans-loading and storage services.

5G and 3D digital twin at the 21st-century terminal

The EWG incorporates the latest technology. It is the first in Europe to control cranes remotely using 5G technology. The terminal has a 41-meter wide and two 28-meter wide giant cranes on rails, as well as a 20-meter high rubber-tire crane, all with remote control. The cranes, manufactured by Künz of Austria, can each load up to 45 tonnes and are ATEX and ADR-certified, allowing them to handle special materials such as gas containers and chemicals.

Twenty high-resolution cameras are installed on each crane, whose images can be seen in real-time at the terminal's headquarters using 5G, and can react in the same way, without delay, so they can control the cranes as if they were working on them in a crane operator cabin.

The private 5G network required for this was built by Vodafone Hungary

A realistic virtual twin of the terminal (Digital Twin) has also been created, which tracks the processes and operations of the logistics center in real-time and in 3D - the movement of trains, trucks, cranes, delivery vehicles, and goods. Developed in cooperation between a Hungarian start-up and EWG, the solution is a world first in terms of complexity. MaxWhere collects, processes, and displays information from all the subsystems of the logistics center in real-time, helping to plan, optimize and increase efficiency in accordance with the principles of Industry 4.0, using the terminal's own 5G network.

At EWG, entering and tracking containers is also state-of-the-art. Camco Technologies, a developer of the terminal, gate, and crane automation systems for sea harbor and rail terminals, has supplied a system that continuously tracks the journey of all trucks, semi-trailers, and containers, as well as cargo arriving on rail trains, from entry to exit. The system not only speeds up the entry, exit, and trans-loading of goods but also helps to improve terminal management and security. Special cameras mounted on the gates and cranes track the containers in real-time. This allows customers to view where their containers or vehicles are in real-time.

Green terminal

EWG pays great attention to the environment and puts sustainability at the forefront of its own operations. The facility uses green technology, with a heat pump system for cooling and heating the buildings, and e-cars and electric terminal tractors. In addition, work has already started on the design of a solar farm and wind farm and associated high-capacity energy storage capacity to meet energy consumption from renewable sources. The additional electricity required will be sourced from green sources.

Customs free zone on site

The EWG is the only custom-free zone in Hungary connecting both wide gauge and standard gauge rail. The facility equipped with state-of-the-art technology, data transmission, telephone networks, and IT devices is the duty station of the Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County Tax and Customs Directorate of the National Tax and Customs Office.

The services of the customs-free zone can be accessed by any trader passing through the terminal by rail or road. The staff of the office can clear not only goods arriving at the EWG terminal, but also goods from any authorized business operator, and can also clear dangerous goods classified even into the highest thresholds category. The zone also provides permanent customs supervision of transit consignments.

The new east-west hub was completed in record time

The terminal was built at lightning speed. The investor purchased 140 hectares of land from the state-owned RFH Zrt. in the last quarter of 2020, and immediately started excavation work on the 85 hectares (the size of Margaret Island) of the terminal. Construction works started in January 2021. The trial operation started in March 2022. EWG received the railway license from the National Transport Authority in June 2022, after a successful technological-technical trial run and approval process lasting several months.

After three decades, the logistics area is coming back to life

The region, which until the 1990s was a major transit region for freight and a major source of employment, has seen a decline in freight traffic and trans-loading required by the track gauge change, in recent decades. Although there have been many ideas and study plans for improvements, and in many cases, the foundation stones have been laid, no real progress has been made. The privately built EWG, on the other hand, was completed in just over a year and can handle a significant volume of freight using state-of-the-art technology.

The investment has directly created around 100 new jobs in the lagging region, with further job growth expected by the middle of next year. In addition, the terminal will indirectly create jobs for five hundred people. The company has made several billion HUF worth of improvements to the public rail network in connection with the investment.


Source: EWG Press Releases