PCC intermodal terminal in Kutno, source: PCC Intermodal

PCC Intermodal: ‘2021 the year of equal opportunities and modernisation’

2020 has been a bizarre year with unprecedented conditions for the rail freight sector. However, PCC Intermodal perceived it as a potent test to check the industry’s endurance under challenging circumstances. Despite the collective difficulties that it faced on a network, partnerships and customers level, the company managed to keep investing in equipment and growing its connections.

The ending year’s most significant accomplishment concerns the company’s consistency in maintaining its networks’ flows, the seamless operations of terminals, and the secured employment rates without any unwanted disturbances. Moreover, the addition of wagons and locomotives in its fleet and the establishment of the link between Poland and Ukraine are also of great importance.

Stability

An exhausting period for the rail sector, which could have ended up badly, proved to be quite successful in the end. As PCC mentions, this period proved its business model’s stability and confirmed that intermodal transportation is here to stay. Not only did it work in this case, but it seems that it will develop in the most reliable model of transport in the future due to its agility and variety of options.

New links

That is probably why the company managed to keep its business running and established some vital connections when the overall situation was looking ominous. First of all, in April together with Global Ocean Link, PCC connected Poland and Ukraine. The service runs via Mostyska at the Polish-Ukrainian border and serves as an excellent alternative to the frequently congested Brest/Malaszewicze border-crossing. Additionally, it introduced Ukraine in the map of the New Silk Road transit countries.

Freight train arriving in Mostyska

Complementary to this success came the connection between Poland and the port of Antwerp in February. The impact of the pandemic was not apparent at that time. However, the strategic move on the brink of Covid-19 outbreak positioned the intermodal company in European rail transport even more. The specific link started with three roundtrips per week, and in 2021 it will acquire two more, thus five in total. The Antwerp-Poland link also indicates the importance that the eastern European country is gaining regarding intermodal transportation.

Expectations

PCC is looking towards 2021 with pragmatism, and the attention turned to the resolution of specific issues. Since it will be the official European Year of Rail, PCC hopes that the sector will dedicate a bigger portion of its focus in improving infrastructural problems that cause bottlenecks in rail freight transport.

Furthermore, it is looking forward to equal treatment concerning the costs of track access charges that should not differ much from these of road transport. This constitutes a call towards policymakers that should not undermine competition between different modes. Finally, modernisation processes related to digitalisation and interoperability are more than welcome and critical, especially in these unsettling times.

Development

Regarding its development, PCC is primarily focusing on keeping its intermodal services in Central and Eastern Europe regular. Poland and Rotterdam’s connection will be a key driver for growth since it will run ten times per week in each direction. Additionally, links to and from Antwerp, Duisburg and Brest will operate five times per week keeping up the traffic between these destinations in high and competitive levels. Itineraries to Mostyska in Ukraine will also increase significantly and will reach the number of two every week.

On top of these services, PCC will keep the daily link between Hamburg, Gdansk, and Gdynia, connecting the German harbour with Poland’s most economically developed regions. However, the most expected development of the year is the launching of the intermodal container yard in Zajączkowo Tczewskie. The investment has been scheduled for a long time now and is estimated to upgrade intermodal services.

Staying in motion

Concerning the rail freight sector, the Polish company firmly believes that now is the best time to keep pushing forward and make bold decisions that will allow the industry to ameliorate in multiple ways. The crisis of 2020 has already been overcome, and since the first shock was not enough to destabilise the rail industry, it is in the hands of all parties concerned to return to normality.

Lastly, PCC wishes that 2021 will be the starting point for an equal and competitive freight transport system in Europe, smart and technologically facilitated. Moreover, it hopes for a standard rail system across the European continent to allow intermodal transportation to eliminate unwanted barriers and grow more. After all, PCC believes that intermodal is the optimal solution and becomes even better with rail in its centre.

Author: Nikos Papatolios

Editor at RailFreight.com

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