pomorski park naukowo- technologiczny gdynia

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Intermodal challenges


The share of rail transport in container service in Polish ports remains at the level of 30%, which means that as much as 70% is still served by road transport. However, intermodal transport is growing more and more dynamically year over year.

According to the Railway Transport Office (Pol. UTK), in 2018 rail transport companies handled almost 1.9 million TEU, i.e. a turnover of more than 200,000 TEU higher than the year before (less than 1.7 million TEU). The total weight in this type of transport last year amounted to nearly 17 million tons, and the transport work performed was almost 6.2 billion tkm. In terms of intermodal units, almost 1.26 million units were serviced in 2018, compared to less than 1.1 million in 2017. Thus, the share of intermodal transport in the domestic rail market reached the level of 6.8% (by mass) and 10.33% (by work done). Let us remember that in 2017, 14.7 million tons of cargo were transported by this mode of transport, about 15% more than in 2016. Intermodal rail transport was carried out in 2018 by 17 licenced carriers. The largest shares in this market, by weight and transport work, traditionally belonged to the PKP Cargo group in 2018 - 46.46% and 52.27% respectively. Right behind it is Captrain Polska, which has become the vice-leader of intermodal transport. Its market share by weight was 13.73% and 12.52% by transport work. The last place on the podium is occupied by PCC Intermodal, one of the largest intermodal operators in Poland, which has now also become a carrier. Last year, the company's market share was 10% by weight and 8.03% by transport work.

In addition, the interest in intermodal transport is growing year by year, as are the investments made in it. The Centre for EU Transport Projects has approved co-financing for intermodal transport projects at the level of PLN 1.3 billion. More than 70% of these funds will go to investments related to the expansion of rolling stock, i.e. the purchase of locomotives and container platforms. This means that, in a relatively short time, rail carrying capacity will increase by up to 100 additional trains per week. Given the planned growing demand for intermodal transport and the projected increase in rail capacity, the necessity of any port investments that would increase the potential in rail is becoming clearly visible. Therefore, the Port of Gdansk Authority, like the Port of Gdynia Authority, is expanding and modernising its own railway infrastructure.

Jakub Majewski, President of the Pro Kolej Foundation, draws attention to the threats hindering the development of rail transport, including fees for access to rail and road infrastructure, which introduces unequal competition between transports, with road transport being favoured. The more so because already now, when analysing container handling in Polish ports and the increase in intermodal transport, it turns out that almost the entire increase in turnover in this area has been consumed by road transport, which further strengthens the division between these branches as far as the service of Polish ports is concerned. Only 30% of the containers are still on track.

Moreover, with the dynamic development of cities, the role of passenger connections is growing, including the so-called agglomeration railways, which have priority in railway traffic. This also applies to Polish ports and may also affect line 201, which is to be a railway alternative to the Gdynia port, and which may soon also be dominated by passenger transport. It therefore seems necessary to build new railway lines exclusively for freight.

Article developed with "Namiary na Morze i handel" magazine.

phot. Namiary na Morze i Handel

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