POLAND – CROATIA – EUROPE – Polish rail freight carrier PKP Cargo, and its Croatian counterpart HZ Cargo, have signed a cooperation agreement which will see the two national operators join forces to expand their offerings in central and southern Europe. The companies will cooperate to enhance services for their current and new customers, increase the volume of cargo transport in the Baltic-Adriatic corridor, and develop joint logistics offers, all of which is intended to provide better intermodal transport services in the Baltics, Adriatic and Balkans. Chief Executive Officer of PKP Cargo Adam Purwin, said:
“This is an important step in the strategy of PKP Cargo development and expansion in Central and Southern Europe and making the full use of the capacity of the North/South transport corridors. Cooperation with HZ Cargo has perfectly fulfilled the acquisition of AWT*. It is our opportunity to gain new customers, not only in the Balkans.
“Large investments, which have been currently delivered in the Croatian ports translate into opportunities to increase the scale of intermodal operations and win attractive orders in this rapidly developing market sector. As the transport services in certain European countries are dominated by national carriers with market share reaching 70%-80%, such strategic alliances with the local leaders remain in most cases the only attainable formula to develop international activity.”
PKP Cargo currently operates trains on an independent basis in nine EU Member States, however the area of Balkans has until now, remained unavailable for the Polish carrier. PKP now hopes to capitalise on Croatia’s well placed ports, along the Adriatic Sea, shipping the goods to, among others, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. PKP believes investment in the Croatian ports co-financed from the European funds guarantee their increased capacity in the upcoming years. President of the Management Board, HZ Cargo Danijel Krakić commented:
“PKP Cargo Group is one of largest players on the European map of rail freight. Our company [has] gained a strong strategic partner, thanks to which we will both extend our logistics service portfolio and exchange valuable know-how. For both companies the strategic cooperation is a chance to extend served logistics chains with access to three seas and several major Europe’s seaports.”
HZ Cargo is the largest rail freight carrier in Croatia, with market share exceeding 90% and shipping several millions of freight tonnes a year. PKP Cargo is Poland’s largest and Europe’s second largest rail freight carrier and in 2014, reached approximately 48.5% of market share in terms of freight volume.
* Advanced World Transport (AWT) is a Netherlands registered company and the largest open-access rail freight operator in the Czech Republic in which PKP agreed to buy an 80% stake last year with an option on the remaining 20%.
Source: Handy Shipping Guide.