Webinar recap: three key points for Malaszewicze

17 February 2023

Less than Container Load (LCL) shipping via rail increased along the Silk Road in 2022, but expectations for the future are less optimistic. Chinese shippers are concerned about security checks in Malaszewicze, while shipping to Russia via Malaszewicze is still not a solution that the industry likes. These are the main conclusions drawn from the RailFreight webinar “The Future of Malaszewicze”.

Martin Koubek, silk road director at Metrans, Bria Liu, founder of Toprail, and Dmitrij Hasenkampf, general manager sales & business development at RTSB, were the experts we talked with during the webinar. They shed some light on some of the reasons behind the trends of 2022 on the New Silk Road and gave a glimpse into what the future might look like.

Source: RailFreight.com

Malaszewicze is one of the most discussed sites on the New Silk Road. It is here that thousands of trains enter or leave Europe, from or towards China. This is why this year, in the context of RailFreight Summit Poland 2023, RailFreight.com will take you to Malaszewicze. Are you interested in learning more and participating? Check the event’s programme here, the site visit possibilities here, and register here

More LCL in 2022, but less to be expected in the future

In 2022, there seems to have been an increase in (LCL) transportation. However, as Martin Koubek from Metrans pointed out, this trend can be linked to the fact that shippers started choosing rail over sea freight, especially in the middle of the year. He explained that shipping LCL via sea from Shanghai to Hamburg would have roughly the exact cost as shipping via rail (around 12,000 euros per 40-ft container).

Because of this, many shippers decided to use trains instead of ships. However, the trend is not expected to continue. As Koubek highlighted, towards the end of 2022, sea rates for LCL started dropping drastically to as low as 1,500 euros per 40-ft container. Therefore, shippers will likely turn back to sea freight when deciding how to ship LCL cargo.

Chinese concerns over security checks at Malaszewicze

One of the issues brought up by Bria Liu from TopRail is that Chinese shippers grew quite concerned about security checks carried out in Malaszewicze. These worries likely partially contributed to the decrease in volumes shipped via rail from China in 2022 on the New Silk Road. Koubek confirmed that controls on containers coming to Malaszewicze from China have increased throughout 2022 and underlined that they need to be optimised.

One of the possible explanations for the perceived increased number of control checks was provided by Koubek. He claimed that the number of security checks might have increased because the total throughput decreased. In other words, if there are more trains coming in and the number of containers checked does not change, the process is less visible than when fewer trains use the terminal.

Sending cargo to Russia via Malaszewicze is not an optimal solution yet

One of the issues raised in the webinar was the fact that rail slots between China and Russia are lacking. As Dmitrij Hasenkampf stated, there would be a solution to send Russia-bound cargo from China via Malaszewicze. Combining cargo headed to Europe and Russia on the same train via the Polish terminal would ensure that more and fuller trains could run, consequently lowering the transportation rate.

This solution, however, presents some downsides and is not very popular. Martin Koubek, for example, said that Metrans did not get many requests for such a service. In addition, Hasenkampf claimed that the conditions under which this service can be carried out are scaring customers away. Many types of cargo are in fact sanctioned by the EU and therefore cannot be transported via Poland. “As soon as we describe the requirements and limitations to our customers, the request goes away”, Hasenkampf concluded.

Visit Malaszewicze

It is finally happening, RailFreight Summit is taking you to Malaszewicze. The most popular border crossing on the New Silk Road will be the destination of our site visit during the RailFreight Summit Poland 2023.

On 19 & 20 April the 6th edition of the RailFreight Summit Poland takes place, in the capital city of Warsaw. But we will not stay there, as we are taking the attendees on a site visit to the much-discussed transshipment hub Malaszewicze. “This is what the audience has been asking for, so we have listened and made it happen”, says Rob Vos, one of the organisers of the event.

The second day of the summit is fully dedicated to the development of Malaszewicze. We not only pay a visit to some of the terminals in Malaszewicze, but also organise interesting discussions and presentations about the transhipment hub throughout the day. Do you think you have something important to say about Malaszewicze? Feel free to contact us by emailing to news@railfreight.com.

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