The first train organized by Grampet on Middle Corridor, along the China – Romania – Hungary route
Gruia Stoica ( Photo: Grampet )

GRAMPET Group, the largest private railway group and logistics operator in Romania and Central and South-Eastern Europe, announced the first train organized on Middle Corridor, which crossed the China – Romania – Hungary route, with its operators covering the last section, respectively the Constanța – Budapest distance.

The transport, launched two weeks ago from Guiyang, China,  left the Constanța Port for Budapest on June 5.

The project, completed after intense months of logistical and commercial efforts, involved 6 countries (China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary), the state operators in Asian countries and the GRAMPET Group, as member of the Middle Corridor – Trans-Caspian International Transport Route association (TITR).

Founded by the governments of China, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, TITR aims to develop a new multimodal transport corridor linking Asia to Europe. GRAMPET Group became the first European company to join TITR in September 2018. Subsequently, in June 2019, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NMSC Kazmortransflot LLP, the state naval operator of the Republic of Kazakhstan, in order to open a regular connection between the ports of Constanța and Batumi. The agreement between the two members of the Middle Corridor – Trans-Caspian International Transport Route was thus in line with the association’s goal of enhancing cooperation and intensifying the flow of goods along the route.

“Today we mark the culmination of efforts that began more than 4 years ago, by which we put Romania on the map of the largest infrastructure project in contemporary history,” Gruia Stoica, President and founder of GRAMPET Group – Grup Feroviar Românsaid. “Our joining TITR was a historic step both for us, as a regional leader of the rail freight industry, and also for Romania. I said then that this alliance could transform our country into a logistics platform for Europe and Asia, generating around 100,000 new jobs and more than 1 billion Euro in contributions to the state budget.”

The train left Guiyang with a load of 41 40ft containers (standard size equivalent to 12 meters long and 2.4 meters wide) and covered the route China – Kazakhstan – Caspian Sea – Azerbaijan – Georgia – Black Sea – Romania – Hungary. GRAMPET Group organizes the railway transport on the Constanța – Bucharest – Craiova – Timișoara – Curtici – Budapest segment, through its operators Grup Feroviar Român and Train Hungary.

Sorin Chinde, Vice President of the Transport Division within the GRAMPET Group, added: “We intend to introduce a regular container traffic from China that will transit Romania to Western Europe. We are currently focusing on the first test transports and solving logistical issues, such as the transit time on the Constanța – Curtici route, and the waiting time in the Curtici customs before crossing the border. The solutions we have at the moment will help us cover the Constanța – Budapest distance in 48 hours.”

The Middle Corridor activation through the Constanța Port was one of the strategic objectives set by the GRAMPET Group when joining the TITR. The pandemic had temporarily blocked this project, but the current geopolitical and economic context, which is reshaping global distribution chains, has forced a rapid return and launch.

Gruia Stoica emphasizes: “The GRAMPET Group will continue to invest in this strategic route connecting Europe to China. We maintain our commitment to our partners in the TITR Association, but also to our business and logistics partners. It should be emphasized that the project can have a major economic potential for Romania and that it may drive the development of intermodal traffic both in the country, and in the region. In the current economic and geopolitical context, the Middle Corridor is a priority that I hope Romania will make the most of.”