By the end of the 19th century, it was proven that the Pest wharf was not enough for the capital in terms of needs concerning goods turnover. The goods turnover of the capital increased from 654 000 tons in 1876 to 1 495 000 tons in 1890. The necessity for the port was intensified by the fact that the flood control regulations on the Pest-side of the Danube section has limited the available loading capacity and has increased the costs of goods turnover. Thus, at the suggestion of the Budapest Chamber of Commerce in 1896, the Minister of Commerce has ordered the commencement of the design works of the Budapest commercial port, which will be located on the northern part of Csepel Island.
Several proposals had been received for the construction of the port by Béla Gonda, Alajos Hoszpotzky and Elemér Sajó. Finally, the construction began on the basis of the plans by Elemér Sajó, who was selected by the Commission of Port Affairs (from 1919 to 1926). The commission has also ordered the construction of further ports, such as the Coal Port (Szénkikötő) or the Ferencváros Local Port.
Opening the port
Governor Miklós Horthy has inaugurated and handed over the port on 20 October 1928. Since the French capitalists have withdrawn from the project, the Hungarian government decided to operate the port as a state-owned company under the name of "Hungarian Royal Duty-Free Port of Budapest" (1928-1937). The port was recognized not only domestically but internationally as well. The port has commenced operations on 28 October, under the leadership of director Gábor Döbrentey. At the time, a decree concerning the regulations was issued, covering, inter alia, the storage, handling, loading, unloading and transhipment of goods, as well as port charges, rights to and methods of mooring, transportation and loading methods of the ships, and the opening hours of the port directorate and of the port authorities.
Expansion of the Freeport
The port's turnover has reached 568 230 tons in 1934. The number of incoming ships is 1837. The capacities became increasingly tight, and it was considered necessary to expand the port. This is how the construction of the second basin, the acquisition of cranes and scales, and the development of sewerage and railway tracks has begun. The Council of Ministers donated 4 million pengő for these investments. On 14 August 1934, the Budapest Danube cruise ship was launched at the Angyalföld factory of Ganz, thus making Budapest a seaport. Finally, the construction of the 2nd basin was completed and was again handed over by Miklós Horthy on 12 May 1937. On 04 June, the government has established a new company called Hungarian Royal National- and Freeport of Budapest (1937-1940), and with this change they would like to refer to the actual duty-free system, which has only been nominal until then.
The Freeport as an independent business directorate
After 1948, the independence of the Freeport has changed and until 1983 it operated as an independent business directorate within the frameworks of MAHART Hungarian Shipping Rt. government-owned company. Its independence was interrupted between 1983 and 1986.
Spin-off process of the Freeport
Between 01 January 1987 and 31 October 2003, it continued its activities as a self-accounting unit within the organization of MAHART Hungarian Shipping Rt. By spin-off from MAHART Hungarian Shipping Rt., as of 01 November 2003, the Company has been formed as a private company limited by shares for an indefinite period of time under the name of MAHART-Freeport Rt., and continued its operation as the general legal successor of MAHART Hungarian Shipping Rt. On 10 March 2005, it has been granted the status of a national public port. On 26 May 2005, ÁPV Rt. - the owner of MAHART-Freeport Rt. - has decided to separate the Company by way of spin-off and has founded MAHART-Freeport Rt. using a part of the assets of the Company, which has been registered in the Commercial Register by the Capital Court as the Court of Registration, and then the Freeport of Budapest Logistics Rt., the beneficial owner of the area and of the superstructures, has thus been established as the legal successor.
Establishment of the Freeport of Budapest Logistic Ltd.
Our company, the Freeport of Budapest Logistics Zrt. was established on 01 September 2005 from MAHART-Freeport Public Limited Company, as its legal successor. Our company owns the 75-years-old operational rights of the Freeport of Csepel and also owns the right of usufruct of the real estates in the area.
As a result of the transformation, all the business activities of the former MAHART-Freeport Public Limited Company, together with the related rights and obligations, were transferred to BSZL Zrt. In addition to immovable estates, essentially all of the non-current and current assets - including the shares of the subsidiaries of the predecessor Company - were transferred to BSZL Zrt.
The land operated by BSZL Zrt., which provides fully comprehensive port services, covers approximately 108 hectares. In its three operating basins, a total of 18 berths have been established. More than 157 000 square meters of covered storage space is available in the Port area. Fully comprehensive rail and shipping services are available in our Port for our clients, and an RO-RO terminal operates in the Port area as well.
Our Port was certified as a national public port in 2005.
The operation of the Freeport of Budapest Logistic Ltd.
One of the main activities of BSZL Zrt. is the letting of property, within the frameworks of which, approximately 34 ha free space, more than 157 000 square meters of covered storage space and more than 10 000 square meters of office space is used by more than 70 lessees operating within the Port. The location and layout properties of the Freeport have made it possible to build an internationally significant port and logistics centre. The container terminal operating within the Freeport - which is the only container terminal with water-side loading capacities in the country - provides an opportunity to join the expectedly prospering container traffic of the Danube. The Port has a humongous development area in the immediate vicinity of the city centre, in one of the most promising areas of Budapest expected to undergo significant developments; this development area offers further development opportunities in addition to the port-logistics functions.