The locomotives are being assembled at Bombardier's Kassel facility in Germany and deliveries are due to be completed by the end of the first quarter of next year. The contract includes an option for up to 10 additional units.

The fleet will largely be deployed on intermodal services from Hamburg and Bremerhaven to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

Metrans currently operates up to seven intermodal trains per day in each direction between the port of Hamburg and terminals in Prague and Ceska Trebova in the Czech Republic. It also operates services from Rotterdam and the Slovenian port of Koper to the Czech Republic and serves terminals in southern Germany.

"By using our own high-performance locomotives we hope to achieve both a reduction in costs and, in particular, a further increase in production quality," says Mr Jiri Samek, managing director of the Metrans group.