Huawei’s Latest 5G Private Network Deployment in Europe To Shake Up The Region’s Smart Logistics Market

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1Q 2023 | IN-6811

A 5G private network has been deployed by Huawei within the East-West Gate (EWG) Intermodal Terminal in Hungary as the region’s first intermodal terminal supported by a 5G network. As Huawei continues to expand its presence in Eastern Europe, this insight delves into the company’s endeavors globally, as well as what this move means for the smart logistics market in Europe.

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Huawei's 5G Services Are Being Employed in Europe's First 5G-Enabled Intermodel Logistics Terminal


Huawei has recently deployed its 5G private network at the East-West Gate (EWG) Intermodal Terminal located in Fényeslitke, Hungary. This terminal is Europe’s first intermodal logistics terminal that utilizes 5G technology to handle rail, air and road freight transport logistics. However, Huawei’s involvement at the EWG terminal is of significance to the company, given its exclusion from several markets across Europe. Located close to the Ukrainian-Hungarian border, the EWG Terminal is the eastern European region’s largest hub for Ukrainian food exports such as sunflower oil and grain foodstuffs. A key feature of this smart logistics terminal has been the deployment of self-driving, remote-controlled solutions such as remote-controlled overhead cranes to manage cargo containers. With high resolution cameras equipped all around the crane alongside artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and sensors, operators can manage the vehicle with accuracy and speed.

The EWG Terminal, a development by East-West Intermodal Logistics Services Group, Vodafone Hungary and Huawei Technologies Hungary is expected to facilitate 1.2 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit shipping containers) per year. Furthermore, a private investment of US$ 106 million (HUF 40 billion) by East-West Intermodal Logistics Services was poured into the project as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, a global infrastructure project to connect East Asia to Europe. Meanwhile, Huawei partnered with Vodafone Hungary to provide the hardware for the 5G network while Vodafone supplied its network support and platform. The 5G services provided by both communication service providers (CSPs) are presently being used for the terminal’s internal communications in addition to the operation of cranes and self-driving vehicles.

Smart Logistics Presents Opportunities for Remote Operations, Real-Time Monitoring, and Internet-of-Things Operations


Worldwide revenue for road transport, container shipping and rail freight logistics is expected to increase from US$862.92 billion to US$1171.34 billion between 2022 and 2027. (See more detailed information in ABI Research’s Multimodal Logistics Market Data (MD-MTML-101).) A 5G private network has the capacity to enhance logistics, given its low latency connectivity, large bandwidth, and better network coverage and reliability at warehouses, depots, and ports. This enables remote operations and automation of sites, real-time monitoring, and Internet of Things (IoT) operations. Short-term benefits of smart logistics include asset tracking, route optimization, and quality control, while long-term transformations in logistics may include autonomous deliveries, as well as vision picking where Augmented Reality (AR) technology and Two-Dimensional (2D) barcodes interact with the warehouse environment. ABI Research sees the market for road transport, container shipping, and rail freight logistics in Europe as growing from US$129 billion in 2022 to US$157 billion in 2028, powered by 5G and the transition to smart logistics. Given Huawei’s endeavors in Europe with the EWG terminal, it is expected that more smart logistics terminals will partner with Huawei or other CSPs to adopt 5G technology in their operations. 

In Asia-Pacific, on the other hand, ABI Research anticipates road transport, container shipping, and rail freight logistics revenue to increase from US$359.32 billion in 2022 to US$523.74 billion in 2027. Huawei has been an active player in smart logistics in Asia. In December 2022, Huawei aided with the transition of the Port of Tianjin in China to become one of the country’s most technologically advanced ports with container cranes and electric Intelligent Guided Vehicles (IGV) that are both unmanned and automated. Operators control cranes remotely, loading containers onto IGVs. China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System then guides the IGVs to the locking and unlocking stations where containers are picked up and dropped off at their designated areas. In Thailand, the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT) has pledged to develop its Smart Port Project (November 2022). This initiative is expected to span the next 3 years and will work toward introducing port digitalization, a 5G port, and a green port.

Network Equipment Providers and CSPs are Flocking Towards Smart Logistics


Other players such as Nokia and Ericsson have also been targeting maritime ports in Europe. For instance, Ericsson has partnered with BT to deploy 5G private networks across the United Kingdom (U.K.) in several sectors, including transport and logistics. The Belfast Harbor in Northern Ireland is an example of this, where a Digital Twin, AI, IoT, and Connected Autonomous Vehicles have been enabled by 5G to enhance public safety and security across the Port. Further, Ericsson also provides the hardware for its private 5G network connectivity of Digital Twin in the Port of Livorno in Italy. This has enhanced smart sensors, 3D LIDARs, forklifts and Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) cameras across the port. Comparably, Nokia has employed private 5G networks in a seaport in Hamburg, Germany in a partnership with Deutsche Telekom. The Port of Hamburg comprises a telecommunications network of 350km of fiber which benefitted from network slicing of Nokia’s private 5G network equipment. Nokia also recently extended their collaboration in terminal automation with Kalmar, provider of cargo handling solutions to ports, terminals and distribution centers to further 5G research developments in Finland.

With this exponential growth, transportation management companies may therefore find it useful to learn lessons from the East-West Intermodal Logistics Services Group in the construction of the EWG terminal by partnering with technology solution providers to support the upgrade of their warehouses, ports, and depots with 5G. Furthermore, Nokia and Ericsson now face more competition in Europe as Huawei starts establishes its presence in the region, beginning with the EWG terminal.