– First, test freight train between Greek port Piraeus and the Czech Republic will be launched in early March, and “Serbian Railways” will participate in the organization of this transport in cooperation with Greek, Macedonian, and Hungarian and Czech railways. The running time and layover of trains on borders will be shortened, in order to achieve full competitiveness of transport. Initially, we will have one to two container trains per week, and over the next two years we could have that number on the daily basis, so, that in a following period we could have up to twenty cargo train sets on this route. Specifically, in the Greek port of Piraeus, there are cca. four million containers, and Chinese ocean shipping company (COSCO) is interested in organizing their transport to Czech Republic – said “Serbian Railways” Director General Dragoljub Simonović, pointing out that the agreement to launch the first freight train on this route was made with Director General of the Hellenic Railways.
According to his words, traffic of these trains will primarily be organized in such a manner that two container trains will run towards the Czech Republic, and empty train sets towards the port of Piraeus. „Serbian Railways“will take action so that this train goes through our country in shortest period of time, and so that its border layovers are much shorter than three hours.
– This operation will bring Serbian Railways significant income, because the expected income per freight train is about six thousand Euros – said Simonović.
China ocean shipping company (COSCO) is investing about $ 750 million, so that Piraeus could become the main port of Southern Europe. Transport of goods through the port of Piraeus to Northern Europe, saves several days of sailing and huge financial resources for the Chinese company, and they are planning to build another Piraeus port in order to increase the port’s capacities to seven million containers per year. This represents a tremendous opportunity for rail on this route to take precedence as a means of transport, and for “Serbian Railways” to achieve large transport revenues.
According to Mr. Simonović, departure of the first international cargo train from Greece to the Czech Republic via Serbia in early March is agreed at the meeting with Greek railways Director General at the international „SHIFT 2 RAIL“conference, organized in Athens, on public-private partnership for railway modernization, which also involves managing of the seven years international research and innovation program „Horizon 2020“ for increasing of competition of railway sector in Europe. The most significant modernization projects of Serbian railways in the next period were introduced to the participants by Mr. Simonović.