SPEDCONT: development has a long-term dimension for us
Recently, the Polish company SPEDCONT announced the scheduled for 2023 investments regarding the construction of a new terminal in Łódź. Marcin Dobruchowski, president of the company, tells IntermodalNews about the features and prospects of this project.
Why has SPEDCONT decided to start construction of a new terminal in Łódź right now, in this difficult year?
We have been working on the project of expanding the SPEDCONT terminal for some time and the current situation has not changed our plans. I would like to emphasise that our strategic plan is clear and outlined for the long term. The development of SPEDCONT has a long-term dimension for us as an optimal location on the map of Poland, and not actions under the influence of temporary market changes or following specific trends.
Is the construction start time already known? At least a week? Previously, the company only announced that it would be the third quarter of this year.
Design and documentation work has been going on for some time but such a large investment requires many activities on various levels, including obtaining many approvals and permits. Immediately after the completion of formal works, we will start works at the terminal. Currently, I can say that the initial investment start date indicated by us is not at risk.
Previously, Łódź was a convenient hub on the route from the East to Western or Southern Europe, now the eastern border of Poland is either closed or handles the flow of goods from and to Ukraine. Therefore, the question arises, what cargo flow is the new terminal intended for?
First of all, I would like to explain that this is not a new terminal but an extension of the currently operating facility. Upon completion of the investment, the operating and storage area will increase by 3.5 hectares. As you have noticed, nowadays on the route towards the Far East there is “shortness of breath” due to geopolitical reasons but our activity is not limited only to this direction. We are intensively developing connections to the Polish ports, as well as to Germany. Moreover, we have recently launched a new direction, i.e. Italy. The expansion of the SPEDCONT terminal infrastructure will allow us to increase our operational capacity, which will result into further projects on which we are already working.
Last year, the company handled approximately 1,000 trains to/from the Baltic ports. Does this mean that another direction is gaining popularity? It’s about the north-south.
The direction of the Baltic ports is still attractive and dynamically developing. However, it has an impact on transport restrictions. This is related to the current political and resource situation, as well as repairs and congestion on the tracks. This situation forces us to look for new routes that will enable us to develop further. Therefore, we are increasingly analysing rail transport projects to other European countries. Let me remind you that the last destinations in the SPEDCONT offer with which Łódź has connections are Germany and Italy. On the other hand, starting from 2020, customers can take advantage of the offer of container transport to and from China, South Korea and Vietnam. We offer the organisation of FCL and LCL transport in both import and export, using the already existing railway connections on the New Silk Road.
Let’s focus in more details on the investment itself. What exactly is the company planning to build – a completely new terminal or an annex to the existing one?
Our investment involves the expansion of the current transhipment terminal in Łódź. The project will be an important step in the further development of our company. It is also of great importance for the development of the Łódź region as a key point on the route to China and Europe. After the expansion, which we plan to complete next year, SPEDCONT will be based on three main pillars of its activity, including rail transport: to the Polish ports, China, and to the West (France, Germany) and South Europe (Italy).
Generally, SPEDCONT plans to implement an investment on the area of 5.5 hectares. Please explain what exactly will be built on this area?
In the area of 5.5 hectares, the largest part will be the new terminal area of 3.5 hectares. However, we plan to designate 1 hectar to the Container Freight Station (CFS), and 1 hectar to the supporting infrastructure of the terminal and CFS, such as access roads, parking lots, parking spaces and other components of such kind. Thanks to the expansion project, it will be possible to start a new container handling, consolidation and deconsolidation facility.
Please explain what the essence of Container Freight Station (CFS) is? Are there any plans to build additional tracks?
We are not planning to expand the track system. CFS is a place to deconsolidate and consolidate cargo to and from a container. Reloading from containers to other types of transport, tarpaulin lorries, ordinary semi-trailers but also smaller distribution vehicles – and this is exactly what we want to deal with. In this place, it will also be possible to store mid-term, provide temporary storage and other services to facilitate the work of our customers.
Does this mean that the company focuses mainly on rail transport in the delivery of goods to the new terminal? Is it supposed to be a combination of rail and road?
Definitely railway but as an operator we are open to any form of cooperation with a customer, depending on the demand and needs on the market. Remember that intermodal transport is an important pillar in GEODIS’ activities.
How many loads will the new terminal be able to handle per month?
We estimate that after the terminal expansion, we will achieve an increase in operational capacity of approximately 30-40 percent.
Does SPEDCONT plan to launch new connections from Łódź after the investment is completed?
We are constantly considering the launch of new directions, regardless of the planned expansion. Certainly, France is on the horizon for us, which is natural considering the fact that we have joined the GEODIS Group. Moreover, we are still working on the development of our transport offer in Western and Southern Europe.