Cargounit enhances locomotive fleet to support Three Seas Initiative
Cargounit, Poland’s largest locomotive lessor, will extend its fleet by adding more Vectron multisystem vehicles from Siemens Mobility in the coming years. The leasing company also intends to modernise the shunting locomotives. Both these measures are aimed at achieving Cargounit’s strategic goal, namely to support transport connections between the countries of the Three Seas Initiative.
Being the largest locomotive lessor in Poland, Cargounit has decided to move further by enhancing its fleet. Therefore, the Wrocław-based company ordered five more Vectron multisystem locomotives from Siemens Mobility. This is a part of the deal signed in September 2021 when Cargounit booked 30 vehicles totally, 10 as a firm order and 20 as an option. Taking into account the current order, the Polish lessor purchased 28 of 30 possible locomotives. If the company uses the remaining option for two vehicles, it will own the fleet of around 40 Siemens Vectron units by 2025. This will make Cargounit the largest operator of the Vectron multisystem locomotives in Poland.
Better rail connectivity in Three Seas
The Siemens-developed Vectron multisystem locomotives have proven themselves as efficient vehicles for hauling freight across the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which are also members of the Three Seas Initiative. Due to the railways in the region being powered by different types of current, the multisystem vehicles are vitally needed for smooth transport of freight. And Cargounit plays a significant role in tackling this issue.
“The Vectron MS locomotives are currently the only new locomotives available in the European market with homologation for 20 countries, which allows trains to run in cross-border traffic without changing a locomotive. We are carrying out our mission to support providing the transport connections in the Three Seas countries on the North-South and East-West axes,” said Łukasz Boroń, CEO of Cargounit. To prove his thesis, the chairman gave an example of the company’s next Vectron multisystem locomotive, which will be sent to a railway undertaking in Czechia, whence it will run all over the region.
In addition to the mainline locomotives, Cargounit also pays attention to shunters. This type of rolling stock is important in moving freight at the initial and final stations. The Wrocław-based company notes the growing interest of its customers in more efficient vehicles for shunting operations at the intermodal terminals. As a result, Cargounit has scheduled retrofitting 15 shunters of the SM42 series, which is popular in Poland, to the 6Dg type.
The modernisation of the vehicles will be carried out by Newag, the Polish train and locomotive builder. “The upgraded SM42 6Dg locomotive, compared to the SM42 6D before modernisation due to the use of a modern combustion engine meeting the Stage 5 emission standards, offers a number of benefits for railway carriers, including nearly 30 per cent lower consumption of diesel oil and 77 per cent lower consumption of engine oil,” added Łukasz Boroń.
According to the agreement between Cargounit and Newag, which was concluded in late June 2022, the first modernised locomotives will be delivered to the lessor within the 14-month-long period from the date of signing the contract. It means that the deal must be completed in the first quarter of 2024. Since Cargounit earlier ordered the modernisation of five other shunters of the SM42 series, it will be able to offer its Polish customers 20 retrofitted locomotives of the 6Dg type.
Cargounit & Three Seas Initiative
It is worth noting that Cargounit’s focus on the Three Seas Initiative is not a simple declaration. The Polish company is directly connected with the mentioned association. It is the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund (3SIIF) that became Cargounit’s new owner in October 2020. Since the institution was established to finance the infrastructure development in Central and Eastern Europe, the investment in the rail freight sector is crucial for it.
“Cargounit’s existing asset base and customer relationships offer a strong platform for expansion both in Poland and surrounding countries. Increasing the interconnectivity of the Three Seas countries, reducing transportation costs and enhancing the infrastructure are all core objectives of the Fund,” emphasised Joe Philipsz, senior investment director at Amber Infrastructure Group, which advises to 3SIIF.