New intermodal record on Polish tracks

Terminal of PCC Intermodal in Kutno, Poland, source: Port of Rotterdam

Despite the reduction of bulk volume, intermodal transportation on the Polish railway network is growing. In 2019 the overall rail freight traffic in the country decreased by 5.5 per cent while the intermodal sector set growth of 14.7 per cent. At the same time, the share of intermodal transportation in general rail freight traffic increased from 6.8 per cent in 2018 to around 8.3 per cent last year.

19.5 million tonnes of intermodal freight was carried in 2019 by Polish operators. As in 2018, this sector set a new milestone again. “In 2019 intermodal transportation reached a record level in its history. This means that the freight volumes of intermodal transport in 2019 increased by 14.7 per cent compared to the previous year. Since 2010, the volume of goods transported by intermodal transport increased by more than four times”, said Ignacy Góra, President of the Office of Rail Transport (UTK).

Further growth

UTK noted that there is a possibility for further growth of the intermodal sector, especially in the southern part of Poland. “Taking into account the underdevelopment of a rail infrastructure linking Poland to Czechia and Slovakia, in most cases, trains end their run at the terminals of Lower and Upper Silesia, and the goods to those countries are delivered further by road transport.

“The situation on the country’s southern border requires improvements for trains with higher parameters than the existing ones: the possibility to run for trains with a length of 750 metres and with an axle load of 22.5 tonnes”, the railway body specified.

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Intermodal rail freight traffic in Poland, 2010-2019 years, source: The Office of Rail Transport (UTK)

Competition among operators

In 2019 there were 20 intermodal freight operators on the market. This figure has remained relatively static for the last three years: there were 21 carriers in 2018 and 18 carriers in 2017. Before 2014, this figure was less than 10. Despite these changes, the market leader remained the same. It is PKP Cargo that had a market share of 44.11 per cent in 2019 (compared to 46.46 per cent in 2018). It is followed by two other leading companies that have been ranked second and third for the last two years: Captrain Polska – 13.37 per cent (13.73 per cent in 2018) and PCC Intermodal – 10.59 per cent (10 per cent in 2018).

Three rail freight operators got a market share of over 5 per cent: DB Cargo Polska – 8.41 per cent, LTE Polska – 6.59 per cent, Metrans – 5.01 per cent. Four other companies had a market share of more than 1 per cent: Eurotrans – 2.26 per cent, Ecco Rail – 2.25 per cent, PKP LHS – 1.41 per cent, CTL Logistics – 1.40 per cent. The remaining 10 operators had a share of less than 1 per cent: CD Cargo Poland, Lotos Kolej, ZIK Sandomierz, Rail Polska, STK, Rail Cargo Carrier Poland, Octopus Rail, Karpiel, Transchem, Alza Cargo.

RailFreight Summit Poznan

Do you want to hear more about intermodal transport in Poland and nearby countries? This year’s RailFreight Summit is held in Poznan. Please note that due to the coronavirus, this event has been rescheduled. It is to be held on 1, 2 and 3 September 2020. Registration is now open.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines and

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