Małaszewicze still a key Eurasian transport hub for Chinese logistics companies
On every Chinese logistics map of Eurasia, Małaszewicze is placed as one of the most important hubs. Let’s learn from the Chinese how to build economic zones, says Krzysztof Iwaniuk, mayor of the Terespol Commune, in an interview with IntermodalNews.
How has the Małaszewicze Reloading Region been functioning since the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
The international situation after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine did not discourage the Chinese companies from running container trains to Europe via Małaszewicze. After the insurance issues were tackled, these shipments were relaunched. It can be said that the Chinese rescued Małaszewicze because after imposing the EU sanctions on Russia, many bulk cargoes such as, for example, coal were no longer sent this way. Fortunately, this category of goods has been a minority of transhipments for a long time. As a result, we did not feel the sanctions very much. The only problem is the terminals that are specialised in handling bulk cargo, and if the current situation lasts longer, these companies will have to change the industry.
Currently, the terminals in the Małaszewicze Reloading Region have many orders for container transhipment. The war in Ukraine will not last forever. We will always have neighbours, and the Polish eastern border will separate the two economic and railway systems. Moreover, China wants to send trains via Poland all the time. Today it can be seen that Małaszewicze is the most important route for the Chinese and it is necessary to prepare the infrastructure to improve transhipment and adapt it to modern technologies. The procedures at the railway crossing and the capacity on Line E 20 (which runs from Poland’s eastern border to the western one – IntermodalNews) also require improvement.
Does the road infrastructure in the Małaszewicze Reloading Region also need improvements?
Together with Biała County, we have prepared an application for co-financing the construction of a new road to industrial zones and intermodal terminals under the Polish Order Government Fund: Strategic Investments Programme. This request has been made. Together with the Zalesie Commune, we want to cover the cost of our own participation in the project. Regrettably, such investment in infrastructure in a logistics centre of European importance must be carried out at the level of local governments. GDDKiA (General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways – IntermodalNews) was not interested in this project, and neither by the Ministry of Infrastructure nor the regional authorities. If we get a subsidy, we will build this infrastructure because a large number of trucks are currently queued on local roads, which is inconvenient for the inhabitants.
The second problem is the concept of building a section of the A2 motorway to the Polish-Belarusian border. We are currently reviewing this project. For many years we have been talking about the need to build a buffer car park for trucks standing in the queue at the border crossing. We have already appealed to the Ministry of Infrastructure and GDDKiA on this matter. If the motorway reaches the border and there is no buffer car park, the queue of trucks will be standing on it. There will be no sanitation on the highway. The nearest parking lot planned from the border is the rest area in Kijowiec, several kilometres from the Dobryń junction. The parking lot is to accommodate 20 lorries. It doesn’t solve anything! Currently, there is a queue for many kilometres at the border. This has been a problem for 30 years. The construction of a buffer vehicle park with electronic registration would also solve the problem of destroying local roads when avoiding queues by drivers. Such solutions are used in some countries, e.g. in Lithuania. Intermodal involves rail and road traffic, therefore infrastructure at the key border crossings in our country must meet certain standards.
How does the cooperation with terminals in Małaszewicze look like?
Also in the case of the planned road to Małaszewicze, the construction of parking lots is necessary. Today, trucks are standing on the road due to a lack of parking areas at the terminals. We convince terminal operators that it is necessary and notice that such awareness is starting to appear among entrepreneurs, an example is the project of the CLIP company. Talks about parking lots for TIR vehicles were also held with the CEO of Cargotor, Andrzej Sokolewicz. In this case, it will be necessary to agree with the starosta and indicate or hand over the land on which the parking lots for trucks can be built near the road that will connect the E 30 route with Małaszewicze.
There is one thing I cannot understand. About 5 per cent of revenues from taxes paid in our country go to the budgets of communes, while the construction of the entire infrastructure surrounding the Małaszewicze Reloading Region has fallen on the shoulders of local governments. We look for and sometimes manage to raise funds for these projects but their implementation often takes place at the expense of infrastructure that meets the needs of our residents. Meanwhile, while the construction of a kilometre of local road costs about 1.5 million zloty, roads for trucks are several times more expensive. We would have completed the construction of infrastructure for the inhabitants of the commune much faster if we had not had to invest in the Economic Activity Zone.
On every Chinese logistics map of Eurasia, Małaszewicze is placed as one of the most important hubs. Let’s learn from the Chinese how to build economic zones. There, highways, high-speed railways and parking lots are built right away. The central government invested in these zones in order to equalise the level of development of the various provinces, which today play a key role in international logistics chains.
Speakers of the Intermodal in Poland 2022 conference will discuss the effects of the war in Ukraine on the situation of the logistics industry. The head of the Terespol Commune, Krzysztof Iwaniuk will be one of the participants in this event. The conference programme, registration for participation and other organisational information are available at: https://intermodalinpoland.eu/janow-podlaski-malaszewicze-2022f/