A leasing player in the transport sector
With the enlargement of the European Union to 25 countries, trade relations have improved thanks to the removal of complicated customs formalities at the borders of the new member states. The shipping and haulage sector has also benefited from this new streamlined transfer of goods.
The Polfrost shipping company has its headquarters in Warsaw. Polfrost is a leader in Poland when it comes to shipping frozen and refrigerated fruit and vegetables and other fresh products. The company was founded in 1996 as a subsidiary of the Berlin- based parent company Profrost. Today Polfrost has a workforce of 130 and expects to achieve a sales volume of Euro 30 million this year. In addition to its headquartes in Warsaw, the firm has branch offices in Moscow, Kaliningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Almaty, and since December 2003 in the Dutch town of Beek. Over the past few years, the company has experienced rapid expansion, with annual sales soaring by some 200 per cent. This dynamic growth makes the company one of the top firms in Poland.
As Andrzej Podgorski from Polfrost’s marketing department explains, “Polfrost recognized the emerging opportunities in Europe at just the right time. As a result, the company plans to focus increasingly on the Western European market over the coming years. We have the right technical capabilities and logistical expertise to become a major player in the transport of goods within Europe. ”Polfrost is also looking beyond transport routes between destinations within Western Europe itself, for example, from Germany or the Netherlands to France, Spain and other key markets.
Further expansion planned
According to Podgorski, the company’s stated objective is to use a fleet of 50 of its own trucks and a further 100 leased units to offer a complete and flexible network of perishable goods transport all across Western Europe. Currently the company delivers 1,000 loads a month. We were thus to transport no less than 150,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables in 2003. For shipment to Russia and other Eastern European markets, Polfrost also offers combined transport with rail. This area of the company’s activities has also grown significantly over the past year.”
“Currently 90 per cent of our customers come from Western Europe, with a special emphasis on the Benelux countries,” Podgorski continues. “We supply most of our clients with raw materials for food processing. But we of course intend to expand our customer portfolio to a number of new sectors. Such traditional fruit trading companies and wholesale markets are high on our list of potential customers. We also aim to increase our business involvement in Germany and other Western European countries, including France and the UK, where we plan to set up branch offices.”
Andrzej Podgorski stresses the company’s clear cost advantages over Western European competitors. Wage costs in Poland are lower than in Western Europe, a situation that is not likely to change significantly in the coming years. However, he says that the company’s high quality assurance standards are an even more important recommendation: “Polfrost is certified for ISO and HACCP quality standards and our navigation system also meet the latest technical demands. Our drivers also regularly attend training courses. Taking all this into account, we are confident that the company is fully prepared to meet the challenges of the enlarged European Union.