It takes a goods train transporting Ford cars 26 hours to travel the 400 kilometers from the southern Romanian city of Craiova where the automobiles are manufactured to the Hungarian border.
Add to that an extra two hours at the border as Romania, unlike Hungary, is not in the Schengen borderless area.
Josephine Payne, the new president of Ford Romania, expressed her frustration at the snail-like speed saying she goes faster on her bike.
“The average speed which we see is between 15 and 20 kilometers an hour and that’s slower than I can bicycle and I’m not an Olympic athlete. I don’t bicycle very fast, but I could beat the train,” she told Pro-TV in a report broadcast Monday.
“That is clearly a problem for us,” she added.
She says the slow trains mean that automobiles produced at the Ford factory in Craiova never reach clients on time.
Ford exports a 100,000 automobiles a year from its factory, the station reported. The 700-meter long goods trains can carry 700 cars.
The company has lost tens of millions of euros due to inefficient transport.
Even on the faster stretches of the journey where the line has been modernized, closer to the Hungarian border, the maximum speed is 80 kilometers an hour, the station reported.
The average speed of goods trains in Romania is 17 kilometers an hour, said Eduard Iancu, general manager of the Deutsch Bahn Cargo Romania office. The average speed in Europe is 50 kilometers an hour, he said.
.Ford and automobile manufacturer Dacia, which is owned by French company Renault, have often complained about the shaky rail infrastructure. They send some cars by truck.
Romania has modernized an average of 20 kilometers of track a year since communism ended in 1989.
In 2018, the volume of goods transported by train was a quarter of what it was in the early 1990s.
Romanian railways lag behind those in Poland, Hungary and Slovenia.