Results from the Intermodal in Poland debate 29/09/22

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In uncertain times, the logistics industry is adapting to geopolitical changes - results from the INTERMODAL IN POLAND debate

Author: Łukasz Kuś


Due to the new geopolitical situation, the development of intermodal connections in East-West relations lost its importance in favor of the lines to Polish ports. However, Małaszewicze will still remain one of the most important logistics hubs in Central Europe and companies want to invest here - results from the debate "The future of global supply chains", which took place on September 28 as part of "INTERMODAL IN POLAND 2022".


- We see a great willingness to invest companies in the Małaszewicze region. When the war ends and the situation stabilizes in the east, Małaszewicz will develop rapidly. For now, however, it is far from stabilization. For if you can destroy strategic gas pipelines, you might as well cut railroads. We hope that the situation in the east will stabilize as soon as possible - said Krzysztof Golubiewski, member of the management board of PKP SA

Also read:The war in Ukraine will have long-term consequences in logistics, according to the INTERMODAL IN POLAND debate

Currently, the challenge for enterprises is the economic crisis, and the transport industry has an important task to fulfill, which is the supply of raw materials and the reconstruction of supply chains. - The entire railway industry, including our company, is feeling the effects of the war, especially inflation, which increases investment costs. Our task is to provide rolling stock to freight carriers. After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the problem of the lack of rolling stock for the transport of certain categories of cargo significantly worsened. At the moment, it is especially true for cereals. It cannot be solved quickly. It will take a long time to deliver the necessary number of wagons to the hauliers, commented Bernhard Hoffmann, manager of the intermodal sector at Ermewa.

New port tasks

Polish seaports had to react to the new situation, just like the carriers. The Port of Gdansk increased transshipments and started handling transport to Ukraine. - A similar phenomenon is visible both at the Port of Gdansk and other enterprises. Investments made in recent years have allowed us to react quickly and create new supply chains. But you can already see that the needs of the market are much greater. We need to keep investing, but the question is what will happen to an enlarged and modernized port when the war is over. When the geopolitical situation stabilizes, some cargoes, which have been directed to Polish ports in recent months, will not be transferred to other directions? The war in Ukraine helped the Port of Gdansk achieve an increase in transshipments, and today we must consider how to stop this increase when, what we hope will happen as soon as possible, this conflict will end. We are already working on plan "B" - said Katarzyna Szczycińska, client manager of the Port of Gdansk Authority.

Green transformation

The war and the economic crisis triggered by the sanctions against Russia showed what a mistake, in addition to environmental pollution, was the dependence on fossil resources. It is an additional impulse to the development of a business based on renewable energy. It will be a trend for the next decades. - As a CTL, we are the first Polish freight carrier offering transport using energy from renewable sources. We have signed a long-term contract with PKP Energetyka as part of the "Green Railway" program and from this year 25% of the electricity we receive will come from renewable sources, and by 2030 we want to achieve 100% green energy. We hope that it will be a trend in the entire railway industry - assured Joanna Kabza, development director of CTL Północ.

- As the HHLA group, we use our own network of connections and terminals, which allows us to optimize costs. However, such a large increase in energy prices that has taken place recently is unbearable for any company. Therefore, we will have to pass these costs on to customers, as well as the entire industry. Despite these problems, we are consistently implementing the strategy of achieving climate neutrality in the entire group by 2040 - assured Tomasz Mioduszewski, Managing Director of Metrans (Polonia).

Unfortunately, crises and natural disasters will repeat themselves in the coming years and the economy must be resistant to them. - I do not expect the geopolitical situation in the world to stabilize in a short time. In recent years, many shocks have hit the economy, such as pandemics, war and drought. There is no end to these shocks. In addition to random events such as weather disasters, which will be more and more, there is a risk of further conflicts, for example between China and Taiwan, which may have disastrous consequences for the global economy. The good news is that the global economy is significantly resilient to such crises, and companies are able to adapt quickly, said Jakub Jakóbowski, an expert at the Center for Eastern Studies.

Polish ports have taken over the transshipments of containers that go to Ukraine, which allowed the DCT Gdansk terminal to compensate for the loss of cargo turnover to Russia. However, these loads do not end up on railroads. - It should be noted that these containers are deconsolidated in warehouses located near the ports, and then the loads are transported to Ukraine with tarpaulins, because the railway network does not have the capacity to transport these containers across the Polish-Ukrainian border. This resulted in a huge increase in the demand for warehouse services and the transition from just-in-time to just-in-case deliveries. If, on the other hand, Ukraine decides to change the track gauge to the European standard, it will have far-reaching economic and political consequences, noted Marek Tarczyński, president of Terramar and chairman of the board of the Polish Chamber of Forwarding and Logistics.

Logistics map changes

Despite the difficulties related to the limited capacity, railway companies are developing transport to and from Polish ports. - As the largest cargo carrier in Poland, we are trying to create new directions of connections. In our opinion, the time of growth of transport to NJS is over, and the north-south direction is more interesting. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the development of connections to Polish ports has become a new priority for us. Once upon a time, Gdańsk was the main port of Ukraine and perhaps the new situation will make it important for this country even when the war is over, which has shown that it is necessary to have alternative "windows to the world". An interesting direction is also Istanbul through the Dunajska Streda - said Jacek Rutkowski, member of the PKP Cargo management board.

This year's edition of the largest intermodal industry event in Poland was held for the second time in Janów Podlaski and was attended by nearly 300 people related to the logistics industry and public administration.