IV. Newsletter

Closing conference in Dunaújváros

The first phase of the DaHar project concluded with an international conference held in the city of the leading partner, Dunaújváros. Besides the performed tasks, the main subject of the event was the future of the enterprise.

All the representatives of the participating countries and DaHar partners have attended the event held at the College of Dunaújváros on the 20th of February. The conference focused on the evaluation of the project’s results so far, and the determination of the methods to follow in the future.

During the press conference held prior to the event László Rédli project manager talked about the exceptional logistics potential of Dunaújváros regarding the point of intersection of European transport corridors, which could provide further opportunities for the development of the economy and job creation in the foreseeable future. Máté Győri technical project manager praised the magnitude of the integrated strategy created during the project, which its thoroughness and professional background is worthy of the consideration of those local and European decision makers whose desk it reached over the past few months. Győri emphasized the success of the international cooperation, which involves several countries and enabled the smooth and effective collaboration of representatives of states which were supposed to be on ill terms with each other.

After a brief retrospection the conference shifted the focus to the future, hence the title: “Quo vadis Ister?” or “Whither goest thou, Danube?”. The representatives of DaHar partners and different EU organizations (Danube Strategy, Danube Committee, SEE program) discussed development plans with already laid foundations to be implemented during DaHar II, the next segment of the project which will hopefully be approved during the next EU budget cycle.

At the end of the day the participants signed a ceremonial statement, in which they all expressed their commitment to the future of the project.


Cooperation with EU’s Danube Strategy

The recently concluded DaHar project declared objectives pointing well beyond themselves. The work performed as a part of the Danube Strategy of the European Union fits into a wider regional development perspective, which can be realized as the result of a cooperation of a dozen of EU and partner countries. The details of the conclusion above were presented by Simon Hartl, representative of the Austrian ViaDonau association at the Dunaújváros conference.

The priority region marked 1a of the Danube Strategy contains all the goals to be realized during the following years regarding inland navigation. Among them the most important is the 20% increase of the amount of river cargo transport by the 2020 end of the budget cycle starting now as opposed to the base year of 2010. To this end several other developments have to be carried out from the clearing of navigation obstacles, through the harmonization of River Information Systems, to the building of multimodal terminals at the concerned ports. In addition, the standardization of educational material related to navigation and the managing of the continuous lack of professional manpower have also been included to the list of assignments.

The strategy includes a separate action plan, which discusses how the opportunities of the existing ports could be exploited more efficiently in order to create multimodal logistics bases equipped with modern road and rail connections. The Master Plans, which are studies assembled during the DaHar poject’s research and evaluation processes, receive key role in this segment as they offer detailed recommendations to address the abovementioned challenges.

In addition, four work group meetings were held since autumn 2011 related to the Danube Strategy with the themes of ports and sustainability. During these meetings the representatives of DaHar presented the latest results and participated in the professional debates conducted with the involvement of decision makers.

The cooperation will not end here, since the currently in-progress DaHar II will also be focusing on the realization of the goals featured in the Danube Strategy.


DaHar II in preparation – development plans alongside the Danube

The goal of the analytical and data gathering activities performed during the DaHar project was to prepare and provide foundation to the eventual development and expansion of ports. Thus in the possession of the necessary data, each partner were able to determine the development directions most suitable for them, therefore, there is nothing in the way of the actual realization of these conclusions.

At Ennshafen, Austria the city’s industrial park can provide a stable foundation to be built upon. The project plans to strengthen the waterway transport system in order to attract new enterprises to the area by expanding the circle of container services and making the connection between rail and waterway cargo transport more flexible. The locals have every right to be confident: from the viewpoint of ton-kilometers, inland navigation is the cheapest and most environmentally friendly transport method. These competitiveness-increasing factors could prove to be very important for companies interested in the transportation of large amounts of raw materials or finished products.

Meanwhile in Vukovar, Croatia the development of infrastructure suitable for receiving submarines and its accompanying necessary services has the highest priority. The port of the Slavonian city could be very beneficial to the whole region if new investors start to turn up as a result of continuous developments.

At Novi Sad, even more ambitious plans are in the working: the city would like to become a kind of “Asian logistics centre” or in other words a significant container station between the Bavarian city of Regensburg and Constanţa of the Black-Sea. However, if one wishes to launch an investment capable of turning the city into the major logistics centre of the whole region, some things have to be upgraded, namely, the waterway and onshore transport methods have to link with each other more efficiently and the currently existing port infrastructure have to be modernized in line with environmental and efficiency aspects as well.

For the ports located over the river segment under the Iron Gates, the source of prosperity could be the plenitude of nearby materials suitable for waterway transport (wood, grain, etc.) and the flat terrain of the region, which is perfect for the creation of multimodal logistics centres. The cheap and efficient usage of waterways could help the economic players of the region enter the market, thus it could boost the economy of not only the port city, but its whole surrounding area as well. Before that, however, there is a need for investments and an increasing variety of services. Only this way can inland waterway cargo transport be made attractive to potential partners.

Galaţi has a special place among both Romanian and Bulgarian ports. Because of its proximity to the Black Sea it serves as a connection between Danube inland ports and the sea. Therefore, their goals primarily focus on receiving and forwarding cargo, and various other projects dedicated to this theme.


Planning at Dunaújváros: intermodal logistics centre

As the leading partner of DaHar, Dunaújváros have also prepared development plans for the next phase. There are two viable options, the first is the building of an entirely new port, and the second features the complete overhaul and expansion of the existing one.

In the light of future financial sources, the team responsible for the evaluation and the local action plan determined two possible development directions for the leading partner of the DaHar project, Dunaújváros.

The first, preferred option means the establishment of a completely new port. The planned Greenfield project which would come to life near to the Pentele bridge, is not an entirely new idea, for it has already been featured among the projects of the second national development plan. If implemented, a cutting-edge, extensive port could be built at the Fejér County city, which would fulfil every demands of the 21st century, and would possess a 6M ton operational and 3.2 M ton loading capacity. In this case the plans say that the public road, rail and waterways would meet in a single point, thus making cargo loading more easy and efficient. Besides further terminals related to different transport demands (packet goods, bulk goods, container, etc.), a Ro-Ro connection point and ship repair services are parts of the complex as well.

The other possible development direction is the improvement and expansion of the infrastructure of the ports of ISD Dunaferr. In this case, similarly to the first option, a fully exhaustive port would be established, a national public traffic hub with a 4.5M ton operational and 3.2M ton loading capacity. As the modern age demands it, the waterways and onshore roads would meet in one point in this scenario also, however, implementing it would be slightly more difficult. Although the rail reaches the port, it does not have the necessary amount of capacity. In addition, the road leading to the highway has to be reinforced and expanded as well, since only after some modifications would it be able to endure the heightened load resulting from the increased truck traffic. At the same time there is a need for parking space for the trucks and noise barriers for the sake of nearby settlements.

DaHar II, the next segment of the project, will determine which option is more feasible and suitable for realization.


From enhancing logistics to production

The economic weight of cities alongside the Danube are already far greater than their area and population would entail. These positions could be further improved with the enhancement of waterway logistics – said Dr. Lajos Veres, Professor of the College of Dunaújváros at the closing ceremony of the DaHar project.

A recurring item of domestic regional development concepts is providing relief towards the capital city, and at the same time to improve the situation of economic and traffic intersections located in its 50-80 km vicinity and to help them using their opportunities more efficiently. This would naturally entail the revaluation of related Danube ports (e.g. Dunaújváros).
EU strategy studies also agree that the river’s waterways are underrated and that is why they are not playing the role in cargo transport which would otherwise be assigned to them. Among other initiatives, the Danube Strategy would like to change this situation.

Regarding Hungary, the strategy recommends the reinforcement of the status of bridges.
Trans-European traffic corridors meeting in the county have unique logistics opportunities if the potential could be tapped into properly. Research says that currently the cheapest way to transport overseas cargo is through Italian ports, but if the infrastructure necessary for processing seagoing vessels is improved, Danube ports can enter the field in that regard. Furthermore, great amounts of transportable raw material and goods are produced along the river from grain to metallurgy products. In their cases, the most important factors are the quality and intermodal characteristics of the connections between ports and onshore transport routes.

Port development outside the Capital could further ease the monocentric features of the centralized traffic network in Hungary, which would also bring forward the establishment of proper road and rail connections. As a result of these investments, small and medium sized cities with Danube ports could evolve into logistics centres. This way, the benefits of cheap transport opportunities could attract other industries to the region, which would lead to the establishment of production facilities as well.

But first, the most important thing is securing the technical conditions of navigation: practically the whole domestic section of the waterways has to be upgraded and the infrastructure of ports and connection points has to be modernized as well.