Non-stop from Lower Bavaria to the North Sea

Opening of freight train connections bayerhafen to the north Sea ports

Non-stop from Lower Bavaria to the North Sea

bayernhafen Passau and DB Cargo subsidiary TFG Transfracht have expanded Passau’s freight train network to and from the North Sea ports.

The bayernhafen port in Passau is now connected to the German seaports with daily freight train services. This brings great benefits for import and export-oriented companies in Lower Bavaria. The initiative for this new, climate-friendly combined transport (CT) link was launched by entrepreneurs from the region and does not require any subsidies. The trains are being operated by DB Cargo’s TFG Transfracht subsidiary. This company has been the market leader in seaport hinterland traffic with containers for over 50 years.

Since 1 February, the AlbatrosExpress has been operating daily from Passau to the North Sea ports. The hub and transhipment point is the bayernhafen Passau terminal. Most of the containers that come to Lower Bavaria from the north carry automotive components and commercial goods. The goods that are transported in the opposite direction, from Lower Bavaria to the north, are generally products from the automotive, regenerative technology and agricultural sectors. The seaports of Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Bremen and Wilhelmshaven are directly connected to Passau by climate-friendly rail. Container handling is carried out by bayernhafen Passau using a reach stacker and the mobile harbour crane that has been in operation since early 2019. Alongside combined transport, the three partners DB Cargo, TFG Transfracht and bayernhafen also offer a single wagonload transport service.

TFG train in port landscape


A true can-do mentality

It was the specialist committee for transport, logistics and infrastructure of Lower Bavaria’s chamber of industry and commerce who in 2019 came up with the idea to set up Passau as a port hinterland location.

Germany’s Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer said, "The arguments in favour of combined transport are unbeatable: having more goods on the water and on the rails means fewer trucks on the roads. The AlbatrosExpress alone allows us to relieve the roads of around 10,000 heavy goods vehicles. This leads to less traffic, less congestion, fewer accidents, fewer emissions, and ultimately better quality of life for people. This project has been exemplary in terms of its implementation: it took just one and a half years to bring the concept to fruition, demonstrating real dynamism on the part of the decision makers."

"With the inclusion of bayernhafen Passau in Transfracht’s combined transport network, CT in Bavaria is being taken to the next level," said Kerstin Schreyer, Bavaria’s Minister of State for Housing, Construction and Transport. “Our ports feature not only inland waterway vessels but also trains, which transport goods to further destinations and ensure that the population has the supplies it needs - particularly now during the pandemic. We need to strengthen the integration of rail and waterways into transport chains and combine them in the best way possible. By doing so, we will create freight transport that brings together people, the economy and the environment in harmony."

Dr Sigrid Nikutta, Board Member for Freight Transport at DB AG and Chair of the Management Board of DB Cargo AG, said, "Our partner bayernhafen and our customers have created a network to which we at Deutsche Bahn can contribute our expertise. We can offer competitive logistics solutions facilitated by maximum flexibility and predictability. And every tonne of freight that is sent on its way here emits 80% less CO2 than a truck on the motorway."

Loading train with containers


A clear signal

"Our aim is to bundle freight flows and shift traffic from road to rail and inland waterways," said bayernhafen’s CEO Joachim Zimmermann. “The new intermodal train service connects Lower Bavarian companies with the German North Sea coast. This shows that our investment in the trimodal expansion at our bayernhafen site in Passau-Schalding is bearing fruit. We are able to offer the greatest possible flexibility for the requirements of Lower Bavaria’s businesses." Now all five trimodal bayernhafen locations - Aschaffenburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Regensburg and Passau - have links with the German seaports on a scheduled basis. “It sends a clear signal for Bavaria as a business location and for climate protection."

"Each mode of transport has its own specific strengths. We need the combination of rail, ship and truck to be able to organise the logistical processes in the region as suitably as possible. However, the advantages of a trimodal link like Passau offers have so far only been used to a limited extent,” said Jürgen Pfeil, forwarder and chairman of the chamber of commerce’s expert committee on transport, logistics and infrastructure. This has all changed. "Our companies now have an international container terminal on their doorstep, which opens up completely new possibilities on the railways to and from the seaports," he said. This was made possible by the interaction of several players on the committee of the Lower Bavarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce. "We have been advocating for decades to improve transport access in our region. But we don't just make demands, we deliver too. In this case and in very concrete terms: we are delivering a new service - from business for business," said Pfeil.

TFG train in port


Trimodal hub

"We are delighted to be integrating Passau as a new port hinterland location into our wide-reaching AlbatrosExpress network as of 1 February," said Frank Erschkat, Spokesperson of the Board of Managing Directors of TFG Transfracht GmbH. "With this new service for our customers, together with our partner bayernhafen we are linking the Passau economic region to all the major north German seaports with efficient rail connections. The ten trains that depart and arrive each week and travel between Passau and Regensburg, transferring to our busy Regensburg corridor to and from the German seaports with 46 trains show how we are further strengthening the Bavarian economy. On the way to achieving our sustainability goals, we are very pleased to be able to shift more road transports to rail with our TFGreen product, while expanding rail service in combined transport and single wagonload transport. Together with our customers and partners, we are making a significant contribution to protecting the environment. For the Passau region, this has meant a reduction in road traffic by around 10,000 HGVs and a saving of 4,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year."

“It is very good news for us Passau residents that bayernhafen Passau is being integrated into the container rail transport network," said Passau's Mayor Jürgen Dupper. “This fills the trimodal bayernhafen hub with even more life and connects companies from the region with the major German North Sea ports. This interlinking with the seaport hinterland transport system means that Lower Bavarian companies can switch to the more environmentally friendly means of rail transport. A great many parties will feel the benefit of this. Thank you to everyone who helped make this service a reality in Passau."

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