Partnerships instead of mergers: PKP Cargo reinforces rail connectivity between Central Eastern Europe and Turkey

2021/10/11 at 2:25 PM

PKP Cargo is moving further in transforming its activities. As Poland’s leading rail freight company in moving bulk freight for many years, the operator is more and shifting towards containers. And the international intermodal connections, especially those between the Central Eastern European countries and Turkey, play a key role in this regard.

Two years ago PKP Cargo, Poland’s largest rail freight operator, was focused on Romania as a prospective market for its international development. The local transport system attracted the Polish company with its key advantage as a gateway to the Black Sea. Keeping this in mind, PKP Cargo started the negotiations about the acquisition of three Romanian transport companies Vest Trans Rail, Ferest Logistics and Romcargounit.

Now, the Polish leading rail freight carrier has changed the direction of its development and started to deal in another way. Instead of mergers and acquisitions, it established several partnerships. Furthermore, it is obviously focused on intensifying rail freight connectivity rather with Turkey, than with Romania as the former provides more transit options than the latter.

LogiTrain service

Among the latest developments is the container train between Poland and Turkey launched at the end of September. It links two significant hubs in the two countries: Gliwice in southern Poland and Halkalı on the west of Istanbul, Turkey. The intermodal service was jointly organised by PKP Cargo Connect, a logistics subsidiary of PKP Cargo, and Logitrans Lojistik (Logitrans Logistics), a major logistics provider in Turkey. Due to the partnership, the new connection was named LogiTrain.

LogiTrain route map, source: Logitrans

The first Gliwice-Halkalı was performed on behalf of Arçelik, the Turkish manufacturer of household appliances. On 24 September, the freight train with 36 45-foot containers departed from Gliwice and arrived at Halkalı on 30 September. The return shipment towards Turkey started on 1 October and was completed on 7 October. Both parties agreed that the train will depart from each terminus once a week, on Fridays.

According to Logitrans Lojistik, the new intermodal service also provides door-to-door delivery not only to various destinations in Poland but also in Czechia, Slovakia and the eastern part of Germany. Its key feature is a fixed transit time, six days between the termini. “LogiTrain creates a stable transportation model for its users with its non-stop and direct transportation system,” the Turkish company noted.

Czech link

Earlier this year, PKP Cargo established another partnership. In late June, PKP Cargo International, the Czechia-based subsidiary, arranged an intermodal service between the Czech city of Kolín, not far from Prague, and Halkalı. This connection was launched with MARS Logistics, the Turkish company that is focused on supply chains for the automotive industry.

The Czechia-Turkey link has a transit time of four days. Initially, the freight trains were running once a week in each direction. Starting from August, there are three weekly connections between Kolín and Halkalı. “This is another example of our growing North-South corridor, which figures greatly in our future strategy,” said Maciej Walczyk, CEO of PKP Cargo International.

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