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More tracks, more output, more work

Austria’s main overseas port is situated at the Adriatic Sea, even though Austria, as a land-locked country, does not have any coastal territory. In overseas trade, most goods arrive in Austria or leave the country via the Slovenian port of Koper, located directly next to the Italian city of Trieste in the north-eastern corner of the Adriatic.

The close relationship between Austria and Koper is rooted in the eventful European history and is defined by geographical proximity and a period of belonging to the same political territory: after 1815, Koper (Capodistria) was situated in the “Austrian Littoral”.

Rail traffic covers the comparably short distance between Vienna, Salzburg or Styria, and the Mediterranean near Koper. In 1967, the city became directly accessible by railway. Nowadays, trains travel from the port of Koper to Graz up to ten times per week, four times to Linz, and - on average - twice to other Austrian freight stations. New connections to Enns and Salzburg were established at the beginning of 2020. Railbound freight traffic between Koper and Austria reached an impressive modal split of 75 % while the number of container transports increased six-fold over the course of one decade.

New tracks for “Containers & Cars”

The port of Koper is in a central position in the Trans-European railway Transport Network (TEN-T) where the “Baltic-Adriatic Corridor” (Świnoujście/Gdyna – Vienna – Graz – Koper/Ravenna) and the “Mediterranean Corridor” (Sevilla – Barcelona – Turin – Budapest) intersect. During normal operation, 80 to 90 freight trains arrive at the port of Koper and its various terminals every week. Every day, Koper counts 12 to 13 container or car train arrivals and departures alone, since half of Koper’s cargo handling volume falls into the category of “Container & Cars”.

In 2019, the number of containers handled almost reached the magic limit of 1 million TEU* while the number of loaded motor vehicles exceeded 700,000. The port company Luka Koper has invested substantially in the infrastructure particularly for handling these main transhipment goods by expanding the port-internal rail network various times. The ongoing expansion is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020: perfect timing, as freight quantity is expected to increase again around this time. In the next five years, the hinterland connection to Divača is planned to be expanded: a second track will eliminate the current single-track bottleneck.

The port’s track infrastructure is growing

The extended track installations within the port area are already in use. Additional track installations, namely 3.4 km of track, have been available in the area of the expanded car loading and RORO terminal since the beginning of 2020: four new parallel tracks allow loading and unloading up to 700 m long trains and reduce both shunting work and the distances to be covered. In total, the port-internal rail network now comprises about 35 km of track and about 125 turnouts. As early as in 2014, the responsible infrastructure and service company Luka Koper INPO acquired a Unimat Junior 08-8 tamping machine for full and spot maintenance of their tracks and turnouts. The machine has been operated independently by the company ever since. The two-axle machine with a Split Head tamping unit and eight tamping tines is perfectly suited for industrial railways and smaller-scale heavy rail networks. The Unimat Junior maintains tracks with a gradient of up to 60 ‰ and with radii down to 100 m.

* Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) international standardised unit for counting ISO containers of various sizes

Quality cuts costs: Your investment pays off

To date, Plasser & Theurer has supplied 16,600 machines. Most of them are still in operation. This attests to the quality of the machinery and the value of our Customer Services’ life-long machine and fleet support. Plus, it proves that high quality ensures high cost-efficiency: machines that have been in operation for 20 or 30 years paid off years ago.