Tomasz Langowski: it is necessary to use potential of all railway border crossings in Poland
It is necessary to use the potential of all railway border crossings on our eastern border, such as Braniewo, Siemianówka, Kuźnica, Medyka, or the Broad Metallurgy line, says Tomasz Langowski, vice president of Langowski Logistics.
How does the current situation in international transport affect the activities of freight forwarders?
For companies like ours, dealing with the organisation of sea and rail transport on the New Silk Road, the situation in world trade gives us additional work. Suspension of production at the Chinese factories, problems with energy supplies, congestion in ports and at borders cause long delays in deliveries. Currently, our problem is the time we have to devote to the customers to explain why loads do not arrive as quickly as they used to, which is the reason for delays. Unfortunately, in this situation, our forwarders cannot speed up the delivery time.
Delays generate additional costs related to storage or stoppage of trains…
There is little talk about it but the costs resulting from the delays are enormous. On the one hand, for importers who counted for receipt of goods and sales revenues. On the other hand, there are additional costs for railway operators, for companies that lease containers, etc. To handle the same cargo flow, more equipment and more wagons are needed. It is unclear when the situation will be stabilised. The end of the year is approaching and it is time to negotiate new contracts. We will see at what level sea freight prices stabilise. At the moment, we are seeing a certain correction as the freight rates have decreased. However, there are factors beyond our control, such as new hot spots of coronavirus that must be taken into account.
There are opinions that the decline in prices in sea transport results from the fact that some importers gave up orders, as their delivery will not be possible before the Christmas shopping peak.
When using sea transport, there is no longer a chance to complete new orders with delivery before Christmas. However, in the case of rail transport, it is still possible on the condition of using the regular shuttle connections. There are proposals to run trains outside of regular intermodal services. However, I warn you against using such an offer, as it involves considerable risk. In the case of such services, it usually turns out that freight is picked up from shippers, packed into containers, loaded onto a train, which then stands at the station and is not allowed to leave for even several weeks.
Are the Polish shippers that operate on the New Silk Road looking for alternative routes to Małaszewicze?
I support Cargotor’s investment in the Małaszewicze Logistics Park. However, I believe that we need to use the potential of all railway border crossings on our eastern border, such as Braniewo, Siemianówka, Kuźnica, Medyka, or the Broad Gauge Metallurgy line. An alternative is also air transport, which, however, is expensive and pays off in the case of time and temperature-sensitive, or express and valuable shipments.
Another solution is road transport, which, however, also struggles with considerable problems of congestion at the borders. It may happen that the time of such transport will be similar to rail transport, and in some situations even to sea, with a higher cost of travel. Drivers are currently standing at the borders and it is difficult to predict how long they will stand, and they have to be paid for, which also increases the already high costs of road transport. Therefore, it can be simply said that at the moment customers are paying for a greater probability of faster delivery from Asia to Europe by rail or car than by sea, and not for the guaranteed faster transit time.