The topics that announce the debate on the Organiser's website are multi-threaded and unlimited ...: “Conditions for the development of the rail freight sector in Poland and Europe. The competition between industries and the costs of carriers. Structural specificity of the Polish market - fragmentation, integration with the European market, consolidation trends. Challenges for carriers related to changes in the structure of the energy and fuel sector. Railway and the boom in intermodal transport ”.

At the beginning, the speech of the Minister of Infrastructure, Andrzej Adamczyk, who praised, talked about 80 billion expenditures, 230 projects, investments in ports, with good condition as much as 60% of the length of railway lines, systematic increasing of speed, developing intermodal, intensive international trade with  our geographic location.

How does it look from the point of view of the carrier in Poland?

Unfortunately, a bit less optimistic. We agree with one thing - intermodal is growing in strength and here development is the only possible and right path. As one of the speakers noted - in coal it dropped by 18%, in intermodal it increased by exactly 18%. At CTL Logistics, this growth in 2020 was even more spectacular.

Grzegorz Bogacki, President of the Management Board of CTL Logistics:

“Intermodal transport is the most dynamically developing segment for the CTL Logistics Group. We are an active participant in the European part of the Silk Road. We have the necessary potential and have built specific competences to professionally carry out transport from the eastern border to various parts of Europe, in particular just in time deliveries. In 2020, CLT Logistics transported 107,957 TEU. Compared to 2019, this is an increase by 284.17% (in 2019 the Company transported 28,101 TEU). The transport performance in the transport of containers in the analyzed period increased by 200% ”.

The remaining threads discussed in Minister Adamczyk's speech in the daily, operational realities of the carrier look a bit different. The main obstacle to the development of cargo transport is the still low commercial speed of freight trains or some deficiencies in the point infrastructure.

Grzegorz Bogacki:

“2020 is still the year of implementation of the investment program and modernization of railway lines and infrastructure managed by PKP PLK. On average, there were 5620 track closings in a month and 187 closure in the day, which influenced both the commercial speed, which was 19.9 km / h, but particularly severely influenced the fluidity of accepting trains for loading and unloading activities on the lines carried out by CTL to and from Tricity port terminals where the average waiting time for the train was over 610 minutes. We also incurred similar losses due to the extended involvement of resources on the modernized railway lines on the eastern wall - to / from Kuźnica Białostocka, where the average waiting time for admission and passing was 625 minutes. and Małaszewicze-Brześć is 414 minutes. "

The above losses are not compensated by the decision of PKP PLK not to increase the infrastructure charges. It is still a huge amount of money, which accounts for several / several dozen percent of the costs for each carrier. According to President Bogacki, we, as Poland, should follow the path of Germany, which see the reduction in rates as a chance for a renaissance of the railways. Lower access rates mean new customers, more modern rolling stock and better quality of services. There is something to fight for. As for the provision on the reduction of cost burdens in rail transport resulting from the fee for access to infrastructure borne by railway carriers from the National Reconstruction Plan - so far it is one big unknown.

When asked about these issues, Tomasz Buczyński, Director of the Railway Department at the Ministry of Infrastructure, decided that it seems justified to dispel a few myths related to with access rates. He pointed out that from the data that the infrastructure access fee has, on average for the carrier, about 12% of the costs, it has not been revalued over the years, it was definitely more favorable than in, for example, Germany, and the current rate policy actually differs from that adopted by DB Netz. He indicated that what we should talk about, what is of key importance, is time.

It is fair to agree, keep your fingers crossed for the timely implementation of the investment and hope that the railway business - cargo will last until the investment is completed - summarizes President Bogacki, pointing out that rail is one of the most sustainable and ecological means of transport and that the freight train emits twice as much carbon dioxide, per tonne-kilometer than sea transport and four times less than road transport. The European Union has clearly identified rail as a means of transport to achieve the ambitious climate goals set out in the Green Deal. If the National Reconstruction Plan and other central projects stimulate and support this railway, it may become the first choice for the client. And make a decisive contribution to improve the climate and thus the quality of life for millions of people.