Border crossings must be adapted to needs of New Silk Road
Due to the lack of capacity of the Brest/Terespol railway border crossing, traffic on the New Silk Road begins to bypass Poland. For this reason, other points need to be adapted to this kind of transport, for instance, by enabling sanitary inspection, says Joanna Kujko, director of RTSB’s branch in Poland.
How does the Brest/Terespol railway border crossing work from the point of view of the forwarder operating on the New Silk Road?
The capacity of this railway border crossing is not sufficient. And it should be emphasised that it is the only crossing adapted to providing all types of border checks. There is phytosanitary and veterinary control of products of plant, animal origin and those that come into contact with food, such as dishes, cutlery, kettles and many others. I do not understand why such a point has not yet been established at other railway border crossings. And it must be remembered that these controls on the Polish eastern border are very strict. Małaszewicze can handle 16 pairs of trains a day. Unfortunately, in August, PKP PLK started renovation works at the Terespol station, therefore the capacity of this crossing was limited.
Furthermore, the container handling infrastructure at the eastern border is not adequate. I am afraid that carriers will soon choose other routes and Poland will lose most of the transit transport, as exemplified by the operators who use sea connections via Kaliningrad.
However, it is planned to modernise the crossing and the entire reloading area in the coming years…
The investment plans in the Małaszewicze area are already a bit late, as the New Silk Road has been in operation for over a dozen years, and since 2015 we can talk about a boom in this transport. Regular weekly reports already exist. On the other hand, the growing traffic caused congestion both at the Brest/Terespol border crossing and at the China-Kazakhstan border. The transhipment from Chinese wagons to broad-gauge wagons takes place there as well as border controls. The Kazakhstan services carefully check all documents and if there are any irregularities, it happens that the shipments are stopped. The China-Kazakhstan border is the first bottleneck on the New Silk Road and it is sometimes necessary to wait there for reloading.
The freight flow on the New Silk Road is huge. RTSB has a very extensive network of connections and we are already using routes alternative to Małaszewicze. In addition to the main direction through Brest-Małaszewicze, our trains run, for example, through the Kaliningrad Region and the Mamonovo/Braniewo border crossing. We also use the services of PKP LHS and trains to Euroterminal Sławków. We also use sea connections between Kaliningrad and Hamburg and Rotterdam.
So what should be done that the Polish economy could benefit from the boom in the New Silk Road transport?
Poland should open more border crossings for handling rail transport. There are several of them on the eastern border but not all of them are adapted to serve the New Silk Road. Transit through Poland brings many benefits to our country. The creation of additional phytosanitary and veterinary border control points, including those at the crossings in Kuźnica, Siemianówka and Braniewo, would definitely contribute to greater capacity. We could transport a lot of goods there.
Are you interested to know more about the railway border crossings on the eastern border of Poland? IntermodalNews.pl, the Polish-speaking sister title of IntermodalNews.eu, in a partnership with the ProKolej Foundation will carry out a dedicated event to take place on 20-22 October in Małaszewicze, Janów Podlaski and Terespol.
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