Rail Hub Milano: the center of Contship Italia intermodal network

Paolo Califano A Paolo Califano, RHM sales and business development manager, describes the main characteristics of Rail Hub Milano, from the location to the available services and the operational advantages for customers.

Which are the main characteristics of Rail Hub Milano?

Rail Hub Milano is a privately-owned intermodal terminal, managed by Contship Italia Group. Its role, within the Contship network, is to operate as a hinge between maritime connections, to and from some of the main Italian ports (Genoa, La Spezia and Ravenna), and continental connections, both national (Padua, Bari) and international (Rotterdam, Basel, Duisburg, Munich and Vienna).

The private ownership implies continuous pursuit of operational efficiency, with a goal to efficiently serve both the Group’s trains as well as third party trains, providing a customer-oriented service.


RHM Intermodal Network

Rail Hub Milano rail connections


In 2018 Rail Hub Milano, as well as other companies of the Contship Italia Group, adopted a Code of Conduct and in 2019 it renewed the ISO 9001: 2015 certification.

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Who are the main customers of Rail Hub Milano?

Among the main customers of Rail Hub Milano are MTOs (Multimodal Transport Operators), logistics operators who organize regular rail services, providing the market with loading slots on freight trains arriving and departing from Melzo.

Other RHM customers include intermodal carriers, logistics companies that provide sustainable transport solutions by rail. They organize company trains connecting RHM with other European rail hubs.

The main difference between MTO and intermodal carriers is the ownership of the equipment (containers, tank-containers and swap bodies) used to transport cargo: while carriers own their own intermodal cargo units, MTOs provide loading slots on rail wagons, and sell the slots to shipping lines, intermodal carriers and freight forwarders.

Shipping lines and freight forwarders are the third largest group of customers for Rail Hub Milano; they use Melzo for customs services, depot and container maintenance and repair.


Which are the main services provided by RHM?

The main services offered by Rail Hub Milano include the handling of intermodal cargo units, which can be transferred from rail wagon to rail wagon, following a hub logic, which uses multiple rail services to provide the transport service. The cargo units can also be moved from road to rail and vice-versa, making combined transport possible and concentrating the use of trucks on the first and last mile segment of the transport chain. First-mile an last-mile trucking services are available to/from Rail Hub Milano, through the sister company Hannibal, and other trucking companies.

To support modal shift and first mile/last mile truck service, RHM also offers warehousing and temporary storage services, dedicated to cargoes which are not immediately routed to their final destination, or are required to transfer from container to truck trailer before being delivered.

RHM is also an authorized customs operator and can assist customers to perform customs duties and customs inspections. The dual identity of customs and terminal operator allows RHM to optimize activities, that are conducted within the terminal area. By avoiding extra costs related to customs activities, RHM is able to improve reliability and the flow of the operations, and guarantees the respect of customers’ schedules and procedures.

Rail Hub Milano is also one of the main container depots in Northern Italy. Equipped with large yard area, customers can use RHM as a unit storage hub, optimize pickups and deliveries utilizations and their unique positioning within the network of intermodal hubs connected with Melzo.

Railway companies can also find in Rail Hub a Bombardier workshop, dedicated to the maintenance and repair of locomotors, as well as rooms and a canteen for drivers. 



Officina_Bombardier_RHMBombardier workshop inside Rail Hub Milano



Which are the main advantages offered by Rail Hub Milano location?

Rail Hub Milano is located in Melzo, about 20 km East of Milan. With the opening of the A58 TEEM (Tangenziale Esterna Est Milanese – Milan External Eastern Ring Road) and the new Bre.Be.Mi (Brescia – Bergamo – Milan) highway, the area in recent years has witnessed a substantial development inroad connectivity. This modern rail network reduces the time for truckers to reach main production and distribution hubs between the cities of Monza, Brescia, Bergamo and the Milan metropolitan area.

RHM Location


From the railway point of view, RHM is strategically located along the Milan-Venice axis, characterized by a high capacity, and the North-South railway which runs from the San Gottardo, a strategic rail gateway between Italy and Switzerland. The North-South railway has been recently upgraded, through a massive Swiss infrastructural investment project (AlpTransit), with a goal to increase the railway capacity across the border, with the world longest railway tunnel (57 km).


Intermodal connectivity

RHM intermodal connectivity is based on a mix of maritime and intermodal services, which connect Melzo to some of the main Italian ports (Genoa, La Spezia, Ravenna) and intermodal hubs (Bari, Padua) with a network of rail terminals in Switzerland, the Netherlands, GermanyAustria, and China.

This mix is based on a balance of continental and maritime services, a characteristics which currently distinguishes RHM terminal from other Italian intermodal hubs, which tend to be specialized in one of the two types of rail trades.


Digitalization of operations

RHM invested in the digitalization of terminal processes, to reduce the use of paper as much as possible when granting truck access to the terminal. This approach will speed up gate access, as well as enhance safety in the consignment of cargo to truckers.


Which are the main benefits offered by RHM to its customers?

RHM offers a strategic location and efficient road connectivity, which extends the catchment area of connected hubs and ports. RHM is located within an industrial area, which allows for 24H operations, a remarkable benefit for its customers.

RHM acts as a buffer, operating in synergy with the ports, and generates operational advantages which are directly proportional to the number of available rail services which, in the case of La Spezia Container Terminal, offers three daily round trips.







RHM is also one of the largest container depots in Northern Italy. Using RHM to temporarily store export cargos can be extremely beneficial for exporters who face limitations imposed by ports to export containers. It is common for maritime terminals to grant access to the terminal area only to containers which are going to be embarked on the next scheduled ship. Melzo can serve as a buffer that allows customers to minimize costs related to the temporary container storage at the gateway terminal.

With the Fast Corridor Service, provided by Hannibal, Contship Italia Group’s MTO (Multimodal Transport Operator), customers who choose RHM terminal and customs management services to import goods, can avoid the issuing of the T1 transport document, postponing customs practices and the payment of customs fees until the cargo reaches the inland hub, with considerable operational advantages, such as the reduction of idle times in port and for customs inspections.



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