Getting to know the Polish road freight industry with MD Krzysztof Koronkiewicz

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Getting to know the Polish road freight industry with MD Krzysztof Koronkiewicz

By sennder team, 5 minute read

To celebrate the recent opening of the new sennder office in Wroclaw, we sat down with the managing director of sennder Polska, Krzysztof Koronkiewicz. Read on to learn more about how the Polish team triumphed in the face of COVID-19 and Brexit and what road industry trends Kris is keeping an eye on this year.

Kris, congratulations on the new Wroclaw office!

Thank you! It’s a very exciting step for sennder Polska. Our team has grown exponentially over the past 20 months, so we’re looking forward to spreading out in a bigger space. The new office is a beautifully designed, super modern space full of the sennder spirit. And the amazing terrace doesn’t hurt.

What does this step mean for sennder as a company and for sennder Polska in particular?

It’s a very exciting step. Poland is a major capacity hub. In 2018, which is the most recent year for which we have solid numbers, Polish carriers moved around 270 million tons of cargo. That equals out to around 23% of all European Union road cargo. Almost 93% of transports between Poland and the rest of the EU were done by Polish carriers in 2018, by far the highest share of domestic carriers in the transport of EU countries. Even though we don’t have official numbers yet, I can tell you that these numbers have all grown massively since 2018.

Furthermore, our carriers cover all of Europe, not just inbound or outbound routes like in other countries. But most of our loads are between Poland and Germany. Currently, Poland is the second most important road freight destination in the European Union behind loads between Germany and Holland.

So what you’re saying, in a nutshell, is that Poland is a big deal in road freight.

Absolutely! By expanding its Polish office, sennder is showing that it takes the opportunities Poland represents seriously. A bigger Polish presence also helps secure capacity not just for the Polish side of the business, but for the entire sennder group.

Tell us a bit about how the industry in Poland is changing.

Well, like in many other countries, Poland is experiencing a driver shortage. There are lots of reasons for this. Many drivers are older, and when they retire they’re not being replaced. A lot of Polish drivers go abroad to work in the UK, Germany, or the Netherlands, which means Polish companies are bringing in drivers from Ukraine and even the Philippines.

The industry needs to make driving a truck more appealing to a new generation. I think digitalization can help make driving a bit easier. But the industry as a whole also needs to work towards increasing safety standards, for example, so more women who are interested in driving feel supported.

E-commerce has also had a huge effect on the industry. More and more e-commerce warehouses like Amazon are opening in Poland. This leads to increased export production, which in turn leads to higher demand for outbound flows.

The entire industry is also slowly moving towards digitalization. For example, more and more shippers are requiring GPS visibility, usually via Project 44. I expect that this drive to digitalize will only increase. Automated processes and paperless documents are just more efficient.

What is the state of tech adoption in Poland, in your view?

Depends on the group. Shippers are prioritizing automated order processing. Carriers always care the most about load accessibility, so digital tools like the sennder marketplace that give them access to no-fuss, reliable loads are highly prized. Drivers are beginning to realize that being able to electronically upload POD forms is actually really great because it means they get paid faster.

Overall, though, I’d say tech adoption in the Polish road freight industry is still in the early stages. Plenty of companies are still doing all their planning on whiteboards.

What logistics industry trends will you be paying close attention to this year?

I’m keeping a close eye on green revenue trends in our region. This is another thing that is slowly starting to change in Poland. People are starting to be more aware of climate change. Large international companies are already pushing a more sustainable approach to logistics and supply chains, but Poland is still behind other areas of Europe. One obstacle is that we don’t have the extensive network of advanced fuels stations in Poland that some of our European friends do.

The best way to face this challenge is head on. As more and more shippers begin to demand that sustainability be built into their supply chains, carriers will have to start adjusting. Digitalized logistics will definitely contribute to the decarbonization of the road freight industry. And that’s where sennder comes in!

Anything else to report? A lot is going on in the world right now!

I just want to take this opportunity to talk up my team. It’s a testament to the strength of the sennder Polska team that we managed to be so successful despite the pandemic. COVID-19 has had a huge impact in Poland in terms of prices and shifts in peak times. It really just turned everything upside down. Constantly changing government restrictions made planning harder to predict, and many industries suffered from lower production rates due to closures.

And on top of COVID-19, we had Brexit! Poland exports a lot of goods to the UK. Brexit had an effect on the capacity side because some carriers decided to stop going to the UK. Customs just got too complex, and there were massive delays on the crossing. That obviously caused a price increase for the shippers.

The sennder Polska team is full of dedicated logistics pros who really believe in sennder’s mission to leverage digitalization to revolutionize the industry, and I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished, especially in the face of all these challenges.

One last thing before we let you go, Kris. What is your favorite area in the new office?

Definitely the terrace! I’m looking forward to celebrating our success out there soon.

Learn more about working at sennder Polska HERE.