Τhe German seaport of Kiel has unveiled plans to get additional capacity and faster connections in rail freight transport with the new service destined to Verona in Italy, via the rail terminal Lehrte MegaHub.
Already since the beginning of September, five new train pairs have been running weekly from Kiel in Alpine transit to Verona, via the German Lehrte MegaHub which is also connected with Duisburg, Munich and Ludwigshafen.
For the trains departing from Schwedenkai of Kiel, the Managing Director at the Port of Kiel, Dr. Dirk Claus said that the new connection via Hanover Lehrte now gives the German port the capacity that is needed "for an even greater shift of hinterland transport from road to rail."
In Kiel, the trains to and from Italy now have a direct connection to the Ostuferhafen in addition to the Schwedenkai, thus also offering direct options for onward transhipment to the Baltic States as well as to the Swedish south and east coasts.
The trains are operated by Kombiverkehr KG company in Frankfurt, with the company's Head of Sales, Peter Dannewitz explaining "the Lehrte MegaHub enables us both to expand the connections between Italy and the Baltic region and to offer additional national transfer options to and from the Port of Kiel which also offers great potential for the further expansion of efficient rail connections."
The five additional train pairs which have a length of 540 meters with 20 wagons each of more than 9 meters for the transport of 20 trailers and 20 containers, leave Kiel in the evening so that loading units in Lehrte can still change over to further destinations during the night.
As for the opposite direction, containers and trailers from the various routes and the Hanover/Braunschweig economic area are loaded in Lehrte and then transhipped via Kiel to Norway, Sweden and the Baltic States.
In particular, the shipping companies of Stena Line, Color Line and DFDS offer daily ferry departures from Kiel to Gothenburg, Oslo and Klaipeda, respectively, while there are also two weekly round trips by SCA Logistics to the Swedish south and east coasts.
Rail freight transport reduces emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) by an average of 57 grams per tonne-kilometre during the pre-and onward carriage to and from the port, compared to transport via the motorway.
Regarding the Kiel - Verona route by rail, it saves about 1.4 tonnes of CO2 per cargo unit with a load weight of 25 tonnes, and according to Claus, the new trains can save up to 28,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Every year, more than 100,000 unaccompanied trailers and containers are handled in the port of Kiel and about a third of these are already transported by rail in the port's hinterland.
The connection via the MegaHub Lehrte is expected to create capacities for the environmentally friendly transport of 20,000 additional freight units, according to the German port.