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The Warsaw Voice » Business » October 27, 2011
Business & Economy
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Synergies at Work
October 27, 2011   
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Dariusz Stefański, CEO of PCC Intermodal SA, talks to Magdalena Łasak.

After just six years in business, PCC Intermodal has gained a strong position on the market for intermodal transportation at home and abroad. What is the secret behind the company’s success?
As a matter of fact, PCC Intermodal has yet to fully spread its wings. We are still in a “start-up” mode; there are lots of challenges ahead of us and so this is probably not the right time to list our successes so far. We are naturally happy with the rapid increase in the volume of cargo we transport and the growing revenues. It is great to see that our intermodal transportation services have won over Polish businesses and the logistics sector, becoming a permanent fixture in delivery planning and transportation.

Success is determined by a range of factors, from clearly defined goals and a transparent development strategy to hard work to consistent fulfillment of plans to a bit of passion—something that should never be forgotten. People have to enjoy what they do and be allowed to shine. Finally, there is the key principle that our group calls “synergies at work.” Holding to these rules, over the past six years PCC Intermodal has evolved from a small firm with several employees to a major business organization with a staff of over 160 in five branches. We are an enthusiastic business that is determined to build a cohesive network of regular intermodal transportation links.

Intermodal transportation is not an easy business and certainly not in Poland where it is only taking off, accounting for just a few percent of all railway transportation. But this is the challenge and we are convinced that the role of pioneers is to always be a step ahead of what the market expects. This is what drives us in what we do and the first measurable effects are there. In intermodal transportation, you need to think long-term. Investment made today and grassroots initiatives lay the foundations for an even faster development two to three years from now. That is when we will complete building a cohesive network of transshipment terminals. At the same time, modernized railroads will enable fast and smooth transportation between the terminals.

Are you sure it will all play out the way you expect?
Working out the guidelines of our long-term development strategy several years ago, we wondered what it took for the intermodal transportation sector to grow rapidly and catch up with the rest of Europe while ensuring top service standards. We knew that if we wanted to offer services of the best quality, we needed to have highly efficient transshipment terminals located centrally in economically developed regions. When we looked at the map of Poland and the state of Polish infrastructure, it was clear to us that Poland needed investment and new projects. Decisions were made and today we are building a chain of state-of-the-art terminals designed to take advantage of Poland’s excellent location in Europe. They will ensure quick links between the west and east and allow for the launch of a fast transportation corridor from the north to the south, that is, from the ports in Gdynia and Gdańsk in northern Poland to countries in Central and Eastern Europe. We have already completed and opened our first project, a modern transshipment terminal in Kutno called Kutno Terminal. It boasts a superb location at the intersection of key transportation routes, railroads, national roads and freeways. That way, cargo on its way to and from central Poland can be handled and shipped fast and in the most efficient way, that is, by train on long distances and on roads within a radius of 150 kilometers from the terminal.

The fact that the terminal is up and running as a stable link in the delivery chain passing through central Poland makes us very happy, but we are perfectly aware that one modern terminal is definitely not enough. For that reason, we are preparing to build more projects like this. There might be many transshipment locations on the map, but thriving intermodal transportation can only develop when it comprises a network of regular connections supported by a functional grid of modern transshipment terminals.

The crowning achievement of our plans will be a state-of-the-art transshipment and distribution center—a “dry port,” near the seaports of Gdańsk and Gdynia. Intermodal container yard will swiftly receive cargo containers from the sea terminals and make sure they are forwarded to any destination using optimal modes of transportation.

The volume of cargo containers handled at Polish ports keeps rising steadily, and unless a modern transshipment center is built in northern Poland, the country’s sea terminals will be unable to use their potential to the fullest because they will be constantly “stuck,” unable to move cargo inland.

In other words, unless we take action now, in a few years’ time we will be sorry to see all this development come to a halt and it will be too late to do anything, as the bulk of the cargo will be redirected to other ports on the Baltic Sea. We have to think and plan long-term and consistently carry out these plans.

Central Poland can breathe a sigh of relief now that the Kutno Terminal will guarantee swift cargo handling in the region and facilitate further development of trans-European transportation corridors. A few years from now, we will be able to say the same of the Pomerania region in northern Poland. We will proudly breathe a sigh of relief seeing how a new distribution and transshipment center in Tczew stimulates the ports in Gdańsk and Gdynia. I am confident the dry port will become an “open doorway” for Poland’s Baltic coast.

PCC Intermodal transportation is a rapidly developing form of efficient transportation in Europe. It combines the advantages of different means of transportation used to ship cargo containers from the point of dispatch to their destination. Intermodal transportation is environmentally friendly, safe and, most importantly, economically viable. It has become an inseparable part of modern economies, clearly emerging as the basic mode of transportation in a united Europe.

PCC Intermodal is a relatively new company. It entered the market for intermodal transportation in 2005 when it operated one train a week. Today the company is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and provides 50 trains every week.

The advantages and development potential of intermodal transportation:
- prompter deliveries and shorter delivery time;
- door-to-door delivery;
- simplified formalities and legal, operational and organizational procedures thanks to steady and regular transportation of large volumes of cargo which can be shipped in containers;
- services adjustable to changing market demands;
- lower CO2 emissions thanks to reduced truck transportation: containers shipped by train over long distances and transported on roads within a 150-kilometer radius from terminals;
- some of the deliveries can be transferred from overcrowded roads to railroads to improve cargo mobility;
- intermodal transportation combines different modes of transportation, leading to improved cost efficiency.

Road transportation offers the lowest costs on short distances whereas on longer distances trains are more cost-effective. Intermodal transportation combines the advantages of the two. Cheaper train connections are used on medium and long distances and then supplemented by road transportation which ensures better geographical penetration.
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