“Although it faces many challenges, intermodal transport in Romania is an opportunity for the future development of the freight transport system. Currently, intermodal traffic represents 5% of the total freight shipped by CFR Marfa, while 2% of this traffic is the actual freight shipped through CFR Marfa’s terminals”, declared Mihai Manile, Rolling Stock Operations Manager, CFR Marfa, during the Infrastructure Conference in Alba Iulia, organised by Club Feroviar and the Romanian Railway Industry Association on 14-15 March 2018.
In Romania, road transport has a 61% share of freight transport, while the share of railway transport is 14.8%, of which CFR Marfa has 6.8%, while private freight operators have around 8%.
Terminals are very important for the development of intermodal transport. There is a wide network of terminals in the country, but because poor demand, only four intermodal terminals are operational.
According to CFR Marfa, there are several problems intermodal transport is facing. Among them, the travel time by rail compared to road transport caused by the rail infrastructure rehabilitation works on specific sections, as well as delays in the transfer, handling and forwarding of containers in terminals.
Also, “another problem is the lack of subventions and investments in the infrastructure of existing terminals and their associated connections so that they could to be used efficiently and at full capacity. The rehabilitation of terminals includes the modernisation of buildings, of the intermodal transport units warehousing platforms, the modernisation of crane tracks, of terminal access sections and of other facilities, as well as equipping terminals with modern tools and devices, but also using latest-generation technologies which have a significant contribution in the activity of terminals”, explained Mihai Manole.
These problems have significant effects on rail freight transport leading to less activity and more road traffic, the fragmentation of rail freight transport market and less activity in the traditional market of container transport.
It is important to mention the encouragement of RO-LA transport for which, in October 2017, the Romanian Government announced the allocation of RON 10 million to support the initiation of RO-LA programme. In February, Romanian Ministry of Transport, CFR Marfa, CFR SA and CFR Calatori put into operation a RO-LA type pilot train on Terminal Curtici – Simeria – Petrosani – Craiova route.
The train with 8 trucks covered the whole distance in less than 12 hours.
To develop this type of transport, at the beginning of the year, CFR Marfa submitted an application for non-reimbursable financing from the Environment Fund within the RO-LA Programme. Currently, CFR Marfa has 160 cars for RO-LA transport (Saadkmss series), but only 44 are operational, while the rest are in need of maintenance.