Small boys during our time loved toy trains. Our own fascination with locomotives has never died, thanks in part to Yusuf Islam‘s (the former Cat Stevens) 1971 hit song ‘Peace Train’ and a two-stage journey by train and bus to a rebel-infested part of Quezon province southeast of Manila during martial law. Today, we thought of trains again as we got news that International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) has signed an agreement with Croatian Railways to increase the intermodal capacity of the Adriatic Gate Container Terminal (AGCT) in the Port of Rijeka, Croatia.
It’s a significant step for Filipino-owned ICTSI, which signed in March a 30-year deal with Luka Rijeka d.d. for the operation and development of Bradjica Container Terminal, now re-named AGCT. ICTSI owns 51% of Adriatic Gate jsc, the terminal operator and a unit o f Luka Rijeka. Dr Antonio Passaro, the big boss at AGCT, says a ‘strong intermodal offering’ is crucial to the terminal establishing itself as a premier hub for the Balkans and central Europe and beefing up its box market share to up to 60%.
Thus far, AGCT has taken over five of the 13 rail tracks located at the outer north side of the terminal. It is currently in talks with Croatian Railways to take over up to 550 meters of tracks to enable the terminal to facilitate 70-TEU block trains. At present, trains handle 20% of total containers into the terminal whilst the rest are handled by lorries.
And what’s the importance of Rijeka itself? Situated in the northern part of the Bay of Kvarner, it is the largest seaport in Croatia, the second economic center after the capital city, Zagreb, and the third largest Croatian city. Its strategic location makes Rijeka the most suitable and natural connection to central European markets.
This is where ICTSI hopes to see big things happen, and the trains will be there to help bring it about. ~Barista Uno