As Balkan Train Convention comes to end, the competition between parties has increased. And the first project is announced by DB Schenker at Transport Logistic Fair in Münich : Bosphorus Shuttle
Bosphorus Shuttle is told to be regular mixed trains with railway containers and conventional wagons and will be operated between Nürnberg and Halkali. Frequency will be 3 trains per week in each direction at the beginning, and will be increased up to 5 trains/week in near future. The transit time of trains will be 5 days, and service will be under the guarantee of DB Schenker where DB locos will be used in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. Trains will be moved by TCDD locos in Turkey.
This project seems essential for DB Schenker for a number of reasons. DB has no direct self-operated container traffic to Turkey, where its competitors, Exif and Kuhne+Nagel covered distance in that area. Exif has strengthened its traffic with shifting BSH from conventional to container last year. And the cooperation with BALO, a foundation of chambers to establish railway network between Turkey and Europe may become an extensive opportunity. KN on the other hand focused on intermodal traffic by leaving conventional traffic to VTG Rail, and increasing cooperation with IFB. By the way, DB an inderect intermodal traffic with swapbodies via Omfesa, a joint venture of Transfesa owned by DB, but Ford’s shift to Ekol’s Roro + Rola project already hit that too. The conventional wagons, where Schenker is one of the strongest players especially with the opening of warehouse in Halkali are also in danger nowadays. Closure of Halkali may speed up the fall back.
However, this new train may turn everything upside down. DB Schenker will not only have an intermodal product to sell, also there’ll be a conventional traffic with better transit time and better distribution hub in Germany. Operation of train till Turkey by DB Locos is ofcourse another advantage.
However, there are some question marks which may affect the success of this traffic too. Romania supports less weight per axle, 20 to. Heavy loads, the favorite of railway, hates this limitation. The return of conventional wagons is also a problem. Closed wagons are mainly used for import goods where open platform wagons are the main portion for exporters. If DB will pay for the return of conventional wagons as well, it needs to find new customers shifting to railway as well. There also needs to be a well management during customs procedures and unloading. Handling and customs clearance of containers and conventionals always work in different way.
At the end, Turkey is about to see new railway products which will surely strengthen the position of railway against other transportation modes. So; the Bosphorus Express, welcome to Turkey.