Real Logistics combines the advantages of road and rail transport in intermodal services

2024/01/19 at 5:12 PM

Shippers organizing cargo transportation services today can take advantage of offers from different modes of transport, and the choice of the optimal solution depends on several factors, such as timeliness, completeness of service, footprint, and cost. Railroads have a competitive advantage over other forms of transportation in some areas, such as the larger volumes of goods transportation. The rail freight competitiveness increases when it is integrated with other industries in the form of intermodal transportation services. Real Logistics offers rail intermodal transportation services optimized for the needs of cargo shippers.

Logistics specialists who organize cargo carriers analyse various factors to find the optimal transportation solution tailored to the customer’s needs. When preparing offers, factors such as the specifics and number of cargoes, the route to be travelled, travel time, cost, safety, timeliness, and the possibility of additional services such as the use of temporary storage facilities are taken into account. So far, rail transportation has been considered the optimal option for transporting large numbers of goods, most often bulk cargo over long distances. On the other hand, road transport is distinguished by greater accessibility, flexibility, and lower cost for transporting smaller numbers of goods. Unfortunately, this branch of transport is characterized by high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, which is also a factor considered by shippers today and will play an increasingly important role in the organization of transport in the next few years.

Intermodal combines the advantages of road and rail

A solution that is gaining popularity in Europe is combined transport. It combines the advantages of rail, i.e., transporting large numbers of goods over longer distances, most often between a seaport and an intermodal terminal inland, with the benefits of road transport, i.e., flexibility and accessibility to a myriad of customers, including companies that do not have access to a rail siding. Replacing long-distance road freight with intermodal transport can reduce the environmental damage of transportation.

– We are seeing the emergence of an increasing number of intermodal connections with a European reach serving not only container transport but increasingly the carriage of semi-trailers or swap bodies. Recent years also show the possibility of transporting standard road trailers in the RoRo system, i.e., horizontal loading. We can read this as a positive signal to the market that despite general technical constraints accessibility of specialized means of transport and transshipment points, and adequate quality of linear and point infrastructure, the market is trying to implement green logistics in the broadest sense, based on proper balancing of the share of individual transport branches in the supply chain,” says Sebastian Swiniarski, Business Development Manager at Real Logistics.

Logistics companies are increasingly offering a comprehensive service based on the cooperation of road and rail transport in a formula in which the main section of transport is carried out by rail, and road transport performs the function of delivery from and to the end customer. Real Logistics is a company that has extensive experience in providing intermodal transportation services. Real Logistics’ network of intermodal connections includes both long transcontinental routes between China and the Far East and Europe, as well as intra-European connections, e.g., between the Polish ports of Gdynia and Gdansk and various inland terminals, from which, after transshipment to road transport, cargo is delivered to customers by road.

Rail transportation safety

A factor that has been of great importance in the construction of transportation services in recent years is the issue of security. The geopolitical situation and armed conflicts in Ukraine or the Middle East make customers more willing to use rail transportation services, which provide greater security and reliability of delivery. One direction that intermodal transport that has become increasingly popular in recent months is the transportation of goods between Poland and Ukraine. Real Logistics has launched intermodal services that provide continuity of supply chains for Poland’s eastern neighbor.

Train containers station

– Recently, due to the situation across our eastern border, the disruption of supply chains carried out by the Black Sea ports, and the need for a quick turnaround in the western direction of Ukraine, we have seen a strong interest in intermodal solutions. One could say that the sector has recently “intermodals” not only in the industrial sector but also in the agri-food sector, especially grain transportation. Once again, we have seen how, despite difficulties and limitations such as the lack of specialized rolling stock, problems at the borders, customs clearance, etc., the TSL sector, including Real Logistics, has quickly responded to the generated market needs and implemented intermodal solutions that allow the realization of shipments and assistance to our eastern neighbor in the export of goods using, among other things, Polish seaports,” reports Sebastian Swiniarski.

The precarious situation of shipping in the Red Sea, the main sea transport route between Asia and Europe, is also causing greater interest in rail transport services. The crisis in the Red Sea affects not only sea freight but also other branches of international freight transport. The increase in sea freight rates and the lengthening of transit times have increased the attractiveness of rail transportation.

– Temporary price increases and longer shipping times are having an apparent impact on increased interest in rail transportation. The current situation is causing a lot of concern, not least because the celebration of Chinese New Year, which usually has a crucial impact on international transportation during the January-February period, is approaching. However, the situation is unlikely to normalize after the celebration of this most important holiday in China. We assume that it may last longer than February,” comments Pawel Moskala, president of Real Logistics

Before the crisis, rail freight was, on average, 4x more expensive than sea freight. The current situation has brought these rates closer together. Nowadays, rail freight is 1.5 – 2 times more expensive than sea freight, with the difference that the duration is still much shorter. Recently, shipping by sea has become longer and takes about 40-50 days, while rail freight between China and Poland takes an average of 12 to 16 days. After the Chinese New Year, we expect rates to calm down, but for the time being, they will not return to previous levels,” predicts the CEO of Real Logistics.

The above situations have shown that the direction that Europe is overturning based on increasing the share of “green” forms of transport such as rail is the right one, and intermodal transport that welds together multiple branches in many cases proves to be the optimal solution.

For more information about Real Logistics’ intermodal transportation services, please visit: https://real-logistics.pl/offer/rail-transport

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