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Cargo and intermodal traffic up at Kiel

Cargo and intermodal traffic up at Kiel
Last year, 26,450 units were handled at Kiel rail terminals

The German port of Kiel has reported positive results for 2014, with cargo handling and intermodal traffic continuing to rise.

The port moved 6.43m tonnes of cargo, 1.6 % more than in the previous year, with Stena Line’s Kiel-Gothenburg route recording the biggest increase in general cargo handling.

Dirk Claus, the port’s managing director, said: “Along with the growth in transport to and from Scandinavia and a rise in bulk cargo handling, there was, however, a decline in business with eastern Europe. The port currently finds itself in a situation adversely affected by the crisis in the Ukraine, a weak Russian currency and new environmental regulations.”

While ferry traffic to and from Scandinavia rose by a good 5% to more than 2.7m tonnes, Eastern Europe transport saw an equivalent decline to only about 2.4m tonnes.

An important growth factor in 2014 was bulk cargo handling – especially the handling of building materials. Thanks to the expansion of outdoor storage areas in the Scheerhafen, the port was able to handle 370,000 tonnes of loose gravel for the first time.

On the eastern bank of the Kiel Fiord work is underway to expand the Ostuferhafen – Kiel’s cargo and logistics hub. Six hectares of additional area are being reclaimed there, at a cost of around €12m. The work will be completed this summer.

Last year, 26,450 units were handled at Kiel rail terminals, an increase of 11.3 %. To process growing volumes, the port has invested in new handling technology. First the Ostuferhafen was equipped with a high-capacity portal crane and then a similar unit was put into operation at the Schwedenkai Terminal last autumn.

Intermodal shuttle trains transport Kiel rail cargo five times a week to and from Hamburg-Billwerder, linking up with the national rail network. From there the same rolling stock travels on to Duisburg without transhipment, providing a direct connection to the Ruhr.

Two train services that had been running direct to Duisburg were dropped from the timetable in December. “Unfortunately, because of trade restrictions imposed on Russia, at the moment there is not enough cargo volume coming from the Baltic to fill direct trains to Duisburg,” said Claus.

Volume increases were particularly notable in 2014 on the Kiel-Verona route which is fed by Scandinavian services. In order to offer additional capacity, train combinations can be lengthened with an additional two waggons. Adjustments at the Kiel-Meimersdorf Marshalling Yards mean that train combinations of up to 550 m are now possible, compared to 500 m previously.

There are plans to take advantage of longer trains on the direct Kiel-Verona route, which is currently served five times a week.

“Switching cargo traffic onto the railways has proved particularly beneficial in Alpine transit. We expect further growth on this route”, said Dirk Claus.