New dates for Railfreight Summit Poland 2020
This year’s edition of the RailFreight Summit Poland, to be held in Poznan, has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. The event will take place on 1, 2 and 3 September 2020. Originally, it was on the agenda for 13, 14 and 15 May 2020.
“We keep track of the developments around the COVID-19 virus on a daily basis and follow the recommendations of the governments in Europe. The health and safety of our delegates, partners, speakers and employees is of utmost importance to us. We therefore had to decide to postpone the event”, says Kim de Vos, project manager of the RailFreight event.
The conference programme remains largely unchanged, as the speakers have helpfully committed to the new date of the event. There will be an additional session in which the impact of the coronavirus will be discussed.
At this year’s edition of the summit, the shift to rail in Poland is a central theme. The expenditure on the development of transport infrastructure as well as intermodal hubs increased significantly between 2000 and 2020. However, between 2004-2018 the volume of rail freight transport performance in Poland increased by only 14 per cent: from 52.3 to 59.6 billion tonne-kilometre.
Poland does have an infrastructure plan in place. This is laid out in the National Railway Programme until 2023. As of December 2018, works were being carried out at 155 locations at a total cost of 32 billion Polish Zloty (7.4 billion euros). Some of these projects will be discussed, while others will point out what more is needed.
After Gdansk and Wroclaw, the summit now comes to Poznan. This centrally located city is growing as a rail freight hub. Recently, a state-of-the art terminal was opened, where cranable as well as non-cranable trailers can be loaded on trains in all directions. This means thousand of trailers off the road, onto rail. The advantage of such a hub is a topic on the conference agenda.
In general, the making of a hub is an important theme. Major players such as Metrans, Wiencont and Lohr Industry will explain how they contributed to a successful terminal or network of hubs in the Central and Eastern European region.The audience is asked to define what makes a successful hub.
Equally important are the ports of Poland, which have grown significantly. In 2019 they collectively handled 108.3 million tonnes of cargo, after crossing the 100 million mark in 2018 for the first time. The port of Gdansk is leading: around 2.07 million TEUs of container traffic was shipped through this Baltic port.
Yet, not every shipper opts for the Polish ports; the ports of Hamburg, Koper and Rotterdam remain important connecting points for the Polish freight market. The railway connections that connect the Polish hinterland to these ports are a critical element in this decision. At the summit, this competitive play between the ports will be a topic of discussion, joined by port as well as rail operators.
This and more
There is a lot more to be told, and the summit therefore takes not less than three days. On the last day, visitors will be taken around a terminal in the region to see how this is developing with their own eyes. Other topics to come to the fore are the impact of the coronavirus, the New Silk Road, the TEN-T network, the broad gauge line via Slavkov and Rail Baltica.