HHLA, a German logistics and transport company that operates container terminals in the port of Hamburg, is investing in the creation of a railway container transport operator in Ukraine. The latter has already been registered as the Ukrainian Intermodal Company (UIC).

The Ukrainian Association of International Freight Forwarders, which organized the International Freight Forwarders Forum online from May 26 to 28, announced this to the CFTS portal. HHLA International GmbH’s Managing Director Philip Sweens provided information about the new intermodal operator during the event.

According to him, the company was officially registered in Ukraine in January. It is now 100% owned by HHLA (CTO and HHLA International). However, according to plans, HHLA will retain only 20-30% of its shares in the future and 50-60% will be owned by freight forwarding companies and shipping lines. The remaining shares will go into free circulation. According to Sweens, such a structure will facilitate partnership between various market players and investors and attract a wide cargo base and financial resources.

In order to develop the Ukrainian Intermodal Company, HHLA intends to invest in leasing or acquisition of rolling stock, as well as in terminals in the interior of the country. The company also intends to establish cooperation with the Ukrainian Railways joint-stock company (Ukrzaliznytsia) to create competitive working conditions in the rail services market.

Sweens emphasized that Ukraine has all the prerequisites for development of intermodal transport. According to him, intermodal transport has a 2.8% share of the total transport volume in Ukraine, compared with 5.9% in Romania, 6.1% in the Russian Federation, 8.2% in Slovakia, 9.6 % in Poland, and 15% in Belarus. This means that Ukraine needs a three-fold growth to reach the average share for Eastern Europe.

According to the HHLA managing director, "most of Ukraine’s economic centers are located at distances of more than 300 kilometers from ports, which are ideal distances for rail transport." According to forecasts, the potential of intermodal transport in the period of 2020-2021 is 270,000-310,000 TEU.

"The combined (multimodal) method of delivery will make the country (Ukraine) more successful, efficient, and developed in terms of transport infrastructure," Sweens said.

As reported previously, a subsidiary of HHLA called Container Terminal Odessa (CTO) operates in the Odesa seaport. Container Terminal Odessa’s General Director Anastas Kokkin announced last year that the company was considering the possibility of its own platforms and even locomotives in Ukraine.

“We want to introduce our know-how into intermodal services related to rail shipping in the Ukrainian market... Intermodal services, fixed-route transportation and container delivery, own fleet of container platforms and, in the long run, even locomotives and others can further be introduced in railway terminals inside the country at production and consumption points. All of the above is what our sister company has in Germany and it works very successfully throughout Europe. In Ukraine, these capabilities are just being contemplated, but we have already put this matter into our strategy – to actively develop this area in the short and medium term," Kokkin said.