Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Hungary could profit from China-EU railway cargo transport

The railway transport of Chinese goods offers profitable opportunities for the Hungarian railway system, Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, told an event of railway association HungRail on Thursday.

Hungary has already started revamping the Budapest-Belgrade rail line with a view to transporting Chinese goods from Greek ports to Europe via Hungary, a statement of the foreign ministry cited Szijjarto as saying. While that project will be operational by 2025, it would also be “important to draw direct railway cargo traffic from China to the European Union to go via Hungary”, thus “monetising” the country’s geographical position, he said.

Such traffic would warrant further infrastructural development in the northeast of the country, such as the intermodal centre already under construction at Fenyeslitke, he said. The 12 billion forint (EUR 33.3m) investment will be operational by the end of 2022, Szijjarto said.

Another intermodal centre, planned in the west of the country, would be key to help exports reach sea ports swiftly, he said. Szijjarto again welcomed the construction of a container terminal in Zalaegerszeg, in southwest Hungary, saying the facility will draw further investments to the region.

At the same time, Szijjarto said central Europe was at a competitive disadvantage due to a lack of high-speed railway lines in the region. Regional cooperation now aims to construct railway lines linking Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, he said.

Szijjarto praised railway cargo transport for withstanding well the coronavirus crisis. That makes it all the more important for Hungary to take its share from the growing traffic, he said.

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