The participants in the Fracht 2023 International Intermodal Transport Forum, which took place in Warsaw (Poland) last week, noted the role of Ukrainian-Polish trade, with Ukrainian representatives expressing the conviction that it is necessary to further activate rail freight transport between the two countries despite the recent ban on the import of Ukrainian agricultural products into Poland.

These issues were discussed on the sidelines of the forum, the Center for Transport Strategies (CFTS), which is an information partner for the forum, reports.

Regarding cooperation with Ukraine, the organizers of the forum particularly noted the role of the Ukrainian Railways joint-stock company (Ukrzaliznytsia). Ukrzaliznytsia received an award from the organizing committee in recognition of the company's operations in difficult wartime, which include the reconstruction of elements of the railway infrastructure destroyed by the enemy and the implementation of modernization projects that will facilitate the entry of Ukrainian export products into European and world markets.

Dmytro Kobzar, general director of Container Terminal Mostyska (CTM), in which the Lemtrans private operator of railway rolling stock is an investor, was one of the Ukrainian representatives at the forum.

"The ban on the export of agricultural products from Ukraine is an unprofitable business. European ports are not receiving cargo and European carriers are idle," Kobzar said.

In his address to the participants in the forum, he called on international companies to continue doing joint business that is mutually beneficial to both Ukraine and Europe.

"We see synergies for cooperation and development. The Mostyska container terminal is a good example. The terminal has already become an alternative to some transport corridors and a gateway to obtaining important resources. We have provided Ukrainian shippers with an alternative to road transport, which allows goods to be transported faster and cheaper to the European market and enables European companies with their own locomotives, wagons, and terminals to operate regular services from the terminal," said Bondar.

As the CFTS portal reported, the participants in the forum noted the importance of the potential of the network of "dry ports" to the proper operation of the Solidarity Lanes created for the transit of export goods from Ukraine during discussions a day earlier.

Rafal Zahorski, the Marshal’s plenipotentiary for the maritime industry and inland transport at the Marshal’s Office of the West Pomerania Region, summed up the Fracht forum on behalf of its organizers. He noted that Ukrainian issues were the focus of the forum this year. According to him, Ukrainian representatives called for further cooperation between Ukraine and Poland in the transport industry. However, according to him, many transport market participants understand the necessity of such cooperation even without such calls. However, according to him, some politicians sometimes miss important details of such cooperation. In the context of the latest Polish restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural products, Zahorski drew attention to the fact that the Polish authorities have allowed the resumption of the transit of Ukrainian agricultural products to the ports of Szczecin, Świnoujście, Gdynia, and Gdańsk while forgetting about Kołobrzeg. "Gróbarczyk (Poland’s Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Marek Gróbarczyk) forgot and omitted the port in Kołobrzeg from the decree... Not only did he not know that there is a seaport in Kołobrzeg, but he also did not notice that this little Kołobrzeg has transshipped more corn than the port in Świnoujście this year. Apparently, the ministry and Gróbarczyk himself already know that Kołobrzeg exists and realize their mistake to correct the amendment to the regulation," said Zahorski.

In general, according to him, the easy times for European logistics have passed, and the unpredictability of the international situation significantly adds to the problems of ensuring reliable supplies even to export-oriented ports, and not only in Asia.

"We already know that when the war in Ukraine ends, the country's needs for raw materials, equipment, machinery, or construction materials will turn the European rail and road networks red. This will decisively increase the cost of transport and reduce its availability. The same will apply not only to building materials but also to literally everything destroyed Ukraine will import, and not only from Europe," he said.