A new rail terminal in Hungary is expected to lead to an increase in grain shipments out of Ukraine, according to a World Grain report.

Speaking at the opening of East-West Gate, a high-tech wireless 5G intermodal logistics terminal in Fényeslitke, the country’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó was quoted as saying in the 20 October report that investment in the project started in 2018 in a bid to increase trade between China and Europe.

However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had made continued and consistent grain shipments out of Ukraine the immediate priority.

“We realise that Russia and the Ukraine are pretty much the pantries of the world because the grain [and] wheat grown in these two countries play a huge role to… many regions of the world supplying foodstuffs [and] raw materials,” Szijjártó said.

“This terminal… will play a huge role in shipping grain from Ukraine. The area from Fényeslitke to the Adriatic Sea is the fastest and most efficient route, making sure that food supplies can be guaranteed in the most remote areas of the world.”

Located in eastern Hungary on the border with Ukraine and Slovakia, from November the terminal is expected to be capable of handling 800 tonnes/hour of grain and 450m³/hour of sunflower oil, according to the report.

In addition to shipping grain, Szijjártó said the US$72.5M terminal had extensive storage capacity and would be able to handle 1M 6m (20ft) containers (TEUs)/year following the development of railway infrastructure.

Built by Vodafone Hungary with wireless network equipment supplied by Chinese technology company Huawei, the Fényeslitke terminal is the first land-based intermodal logistics terminal in Europe using 5G technology to control cranes remotely, according to the report.

The terminal’s primary function was to trans-ship incoming rail shipments, which was necessary as Europe uses 1,435mm gauge rails, while Russia and many Asian countries use 1,520mm gauges, World Grain wrote.