Intermodal transport in 2020 on rise despite Covid-19 pandemic


In 2020 intermodal transport’s share in rail freight exceeded 10%. Its share increased year-on-year by almost 29%. The Office of Rail Transport publishes an overview of intermodal transport for 2020.

In 2020 23.8 m tonnes of goods in intermodal transport were carried by rail. The intermodal transport performance was 7.8 bn tonne-km. When compared to 2019, the total weight of transported goods increased by 21.9% (4.3 m tonnes) and the transport performance by 10.9% (0.7 bn tonne-km). In 2020 rail carriers transported a record-breaking number of units. For the first time in history 1,663,000 units  were transported. The number of transported TEUs reached 2 672 thous. (one 20-foot container is 1 TEU).


- Last year the entire transport sector was in a very difficult situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We recorded drops both in passenger transport and freight. However, the pandemic has not slowed down the development of intermodal transport. This proves that the intermodal transport is quite resilient to the global crisis and epidemic-imposed limitations - comments Ignacy Góra, President of the Office of Rail Transport.

In 2020 intermodal transport’s share in rail freight amounted to 10.7% in weight and 15% in transport performance. It is an increase by almost 29% in weight and 19% in transport performance as compared to 2019. Intermodal transport’s shares are growing steadily.



- Due to the transit potential of Poland and increases in transport on the New Silk Route, the development of infrastructure in the east of Poland is important for further growth of international exchange. It is also important to take steps to transfer some of the loads transported via Poland from road to rail - says Ignacy Góra, President of the Office of Rail Transport.

During the first phase of the pandemic, the effects of recession in international trade were already felt. There were difficulties in the connections across Poland’s eastern border as the result of stricter control procedures and security measures. After the problems in border traffic were resolved and procedures for dealing with cross-border trains were established, the situation has stabilized. Freight forwarders who had maritime transport contracts quickly responded to port restrictions and shifted shipments to rail. As a result, the number of intermodal trains crossing Poland’s eastern border increased.


The interest in transit connections through Poland increased. In transit through Poland (East-West and East-South) the increase in the number of trains exceeded even 100%. The East-South routes enable connections not only to the Czech Republic, but also to also Hungary or even Italy.

From the beginning of the pandemic the Office of Rail Transport was involved in maintaining international freight connections. The Office coordinated the transfer of lists to the Border Guard of the railway personnel who could cross the border without quarantine. The Office was also responsible for the distribution of personal protection equipment to rail companies from resources of the Material Reserves Agency.

Intermodal transport statistics can be found on our new statistical portal at An overview of intermodal transport in 2020 is available here.

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