Growing traffic seals Hamburg's Hungarian role
Hong Kong and China supplied much of the important commodity groups in Hungary's incoming traffic via Hamburg last year, when transit cargoes rose to 300,000 tonnes. Sixty per cent were imports and 40 per cent exports.
Both the territory and the mainland - along with South Korea, Japan and Ecuador - were main suppliers of citrus and tropical fruits, coffee, cocoa, textiles, leather goods, plastic goods, electrical goods, vehicles, machines and spare parts and fodder.
The main product groups in Hungary's outgoing traffic were: chemical products (including plastic products); electrical goods; rubber products; machines and spare parts; food and drink such as wine, meat products, canned fruit and vegetables; paper and cardboard; vehicles; and pharmaceuticals.
These were exported via Hamburg to Finland, the Canaries, Algeria, South Korea, Australia and Japan.
Given this development, Hamburg's port operators expect further growth in cargo turnover for Hungary.
Hungary's increasing integration into the world economy and the pent-up demand for Western technology and favourably priced consumer goods from the Far East have opened up new perspectives for transit traffic via Hamburg.
Hopes of a continued growth in cargo turnover are fuelled by the growing significance of Hungary as the hub of intermodal Eastern European trade and as an international freight hub in east-west and north-south traffic.
Hungary's neighbours - the Ukraine, Romania and what is left of Yugoslavia - are also countries with a considerable amount of consumer demand.
Hamburg is Hungary's biggest overseas container port. Since 1993, its cargo-handling firms have improved transport links between Hamburg and Hungary, in particular through the commitment to new block-train connections.
In Hungary, a so-called 'antenna system' ensures nationwide distribution. For economic reasons, the consignments are shipped to a few Hungarian terminals and then distributed via a sophisticated carriage system.
Though the lion's share of traffic between Hamburg and Hungary goes by truck, the increased number of block-train connections for containers, swap bodies and liftable trailers available since 1993 has brought about a shift in rail's favour.
There has also been a positive development in container intermodal traffic (rail-ship and rail-truck) since 1993, a trend that looks set to continue this year.