The Ukrainian Railways joint-stock company (Ukrzaliznytsia) and the Polish Railways (PKP S.A.) plan to create a joint freight forwarding company for the transportation of goods from Ukraine to Poland and other European countries.

PKP S.A.’s President Krzysztof Maminski announced this, the CFTS portal reports, citing the Rail Insider publication.

According to him, the joint venture will be responsible for the transportation of goods from Ukraine, the organization of the entire supply chain, and the transportation of goods to customers.

He said that this could be one way to solve the problems that arose after the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports and the consequent reorientation of exports to the West, particularly to Poland.

According to Maminski, due to the different track gauges in the European Union and Ukraine, it was necessary to purchase a larger number of specialized wagons with the 1435 mm track gauge for the transportation of grain and create sufficient space for grain storage.

He added that it is possible to transport approximately 200,000 tons of grain through the Izov – Hrubieszow border crossing alone: ​​"The amount of grain handled by other border crossings managed by PKP Cargo S.A. depends primarily on the agreed monthly transportation plans and improvement of processing capacities through modernization of border infrastructure."

The head of PKP S.A. also spoke about measures to improve the capacity of border crossings between Ukraine and Poland. "Currently, it is worth highlighting two areas in which we are working to improve the capacity of railway checkpoints between Poland and Ukraine. The first is to reduce the process of receiving and checking trains. The second is to improve the working process. In the first area, we also see the need for short- and medium-term measures and investments. In our opinion, the key is the implementation of several solutions, particularly the improvement of the train handover process, repair and lease of wagons, construction of additional transshipment terminals with the relevant infrastructure, and modernization of the places for handling bulk goods," Maminski said.

Purchase of equipment for transshipment or construction of silos, construction of additional warehouses and shunting/storage areas, purchase of specialized rolling stock, and employment of additional personnel are also planned.

According to him, the PKP Group currently has terminals for processing grain at the Polish-Ukrainian border in Dorohusk, Medyka, as well as at the LHS stations in Szczebrzeszyn and Slawkow.

Regarding the lack of rolling stock for the 1435 mm track gauge, the Polish company is looking for grain wagons in Europe and negotiating with Ukrzaliznytsia for the use of Ukrainian wagons.

"Currently, the technologies for transporting grain in Big Bags and in bulk in open rolling stock (hermetic coal wagons, on-board platforms for Big Bags) are also being considered. Their use will ultimately depend on whether clients ordering transportation agree," Maminski said.

In addition, the four shortest routes to Polish ports (the routes from Dorohusk and Medyka to the ports in Gdansk and Gdynia and the routes from Dorohusk and Medyka to the ports in Szczecin and Swinoujscie) have been chosen for the export of Ukrainian grain.

According to the head of PKP S.A., there are significant opportunities to increase the throughput at the border crossings in Dorohusk and Medyka, the largest volumes of grain are already being delivered to the border crossing in Hrubieszow, and the company operating the LHS line continues to work to increase the volumes it can handle.

"As for the method of exporting Ukrainian grain from Poland, the key issue seems to be primarily the need to coordinate the size of the generated cargo flow at the ‘entrance’ (PKP – Ukrzaliznytsia border checkpoints) with the corresponding size of the transit capacity of PKP PLK S.A. and the nodes at the ‘exit’ (Polish ports)," he said.