After a year’s delay, the deal between Greek railway service operator Trainose and Hewlett Packard is finally about to be put into action, albeit on a pilot basis. The agreement provides for the US company to make Piraeus its distribution center for Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and other Mediterranean countries.
Sources say that the first trial services from Piraeus to the Czech Republic, carrying HP products twice a week, will start by the end of next month. The pilot period will last for three months, after which HP will assess the yields and the efficiency of the Trainose services.
The agreement between the two sides provides for the transport of HP products to various parts of Europe, but certain significant difficulties have been observed in the rail networks, which in some countries are very different. In certain cases there have been problems in signing the international contracts required.
It was almost a year ago, on March 1, 2013, that the deal was signed, and Trainose is hoping to start the cargo service as soon as possible. Trainose Chairman and Chief Executive Thanassis Ziliaskopoulos announced the time those services would start during an event on Wednesday for the European railway research and innovation program Shift2Rail.
The Infrastructure Ministry’s general secretary of transport, Nikos Stathopoulos, spoke on Wednesday of the keen interest that has been expressed in the privatization of Trainose and carriage maintenance firm Rosco. He said that he had held meetings with candidate investors in Trainose and Rosco in the context of the Shift2Rail event in Athens, as well as with representatives of the railway community in Europe and European Commission officials, “and I realized that the interest is serious and intense.”
Shift2Rail, programmed to last up to 2020, consists of five sections concerning the research and development of technological solutions for the improvement of the railway network. Participants include industrial and research partners from across Europe and its target is the doubling of the network’s capacity, increasing railway reliability by 50 percent and reducing railway system costs by 50 percent.