Hungary grants support to intermodal trailer transport 09/03/24

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Posted by Ajtony Bíró Koppány




Intermodal international freight traffic with semi-trailers can be doubled with EKR support

Sustainable goods transport has received significant support in Hungary: since February, the rail transport of road semi-trailers has been supported within the energy efficiency obligation system. The Association of Hungarian Logistics Service Centers, which initiated the legislative change, calculates that with an average international shipment, the haulage companies can receive up to 150-200 euros for their extra administration costs, and in the short term, a decrease in traffic of fifty thousand trucks per year on domestic roads is expected.

The energy efficiency obligation system (EKR), which supports climate protection and entered into force in 2021, serves to ensure that by 2030 the final energy consumption in Hungary does not exceed the 2005 level. In order to do this, domestic energy consumption must be reduced by about 7 petajoules over ten years. As part of this, the economic actors included in the EKR – natural gas or electricity traders and universal service providers, as well as fuel users – must reduce their own energy consumption by a specified tenth of a percentage year after year. If they cannot do this, they must buy a quota.

Within the framework of the EKR system, there was already the possibility in principle to support international truck transport by rail for two years, but at the initiative of the MLSZKSZ, the legislation was amended in February of this year so that it could be applied widely and effectively.

The new provision helps those road haulage companies registered in Hungary that have trucks and have already operated in international traffic. These can account for energy savings in the EKR system if the truck trailer is transported by rail. The audited energy saving quota can be sold. According to the calculations of the MLSZKSZ, if the appropriate conditions are met, this can mean 150–200 euros for a transport between Budapest and the Ruhr region, to cover their extra administrative costs, but depending on the distance and conditions, it can be less or even more.

"Supporting the diversion of truck trailers onto railways is a significant measure from the point of view of environmental protection and competitiveness. With the help of this, according to our calculations, the international semi-trailer intermodal traffic can be doubled within a short period of time, and about fifty thousand fewer trucks of goods will be transported by road every year. The semi-trailer intermodal terminals already in operation are ready to transfer the excess traffic, and new rail-road intermodal terminals are also being built, for example in Debrecen, Szeged or Zalaegerszeg," said Zsolt Fülöp, president of the MLSZKSZ, at the opening of the 14th Transportation Logistics Conference.

In the longer term, MLSZKSZ expects further expansion in European intermodal freight traffic. Rail transport is environmentally friendly, which is why it is given a much bigger role in the European Union than at present. On the one hand, this is supported by the support of railway developments, and it has already been announced that road transport will be hit with much higher environmental protection charges than at present. In addition, the shortage of several hundred thousand European drivers is causing an increasingly serious capacity problem for truck transport.