Interview with Dirk Stroo
President of Przedsiębiorstwo Usług Kolejowych KOLPREM Sp. z o.o.
in Dąbrowa Górnicza
What is the specialisation of your company in the area of railway transport?
KOLPREM carries out its tasks through specialised services. The External Transport Division transports cargo within the PKP railway network, whereas the Internal Transport Division provides transport services within the sidetracks of ArcelorMittal Poland S.A. - our main customer. Let me add that ArcelorMittal is the owner of, among other facilities: steelworks in Dąbrowa Górnicza and in Kraków, a coke plant in Zdzieszowice, and a rolling mill in Sosnowiec and Świętochłowice. As the facilities are scattered, there is a need to transport raw materials, finished products and semi-finished products for further processing. This is why we offer rolling stock of different type, such as: coal or coke hopper cars; platform wagons for transporting slabs, sheet reels; rail tankers for transporting PCI coal dust needed for the blast furnace process in order to reduce the consumption of coke. Since the owner of ArcelorMittal also has facilities in Germany, Czech Republic and Romania, recently international transports have been added to our offer. To this end, we collaborate with major carriers and forwarders. Another significant activity of KOLPREM is - as I have already mentioned - internal transport on the sidetracks of ArcelorMittal. They require that our workers, apart from having knowledge related to railway industry, are familiar with complicated production processes occurring in the plant in which they work. Railway transport is necessary at every manufacturing stage, starting from the supply of raw materials, through works transport handled by means of specialist rolling stock (torpedo cars, slag cars), to transportation of finished products (sheet, rails or coke). The production profile in a global company like ArcelorMittal is constantly changing. Hence, railway transport must adapt to new needs. For example, in 2014, in Dąbrowa Górnicza the production of 120 m long rails was launched (the standard length is 30 m), so logistics had to be designed carefully and specialist rolling stock was needed. KOLPREM is a company specialising in bulk transport for metallurgical and coke industry.
How should the comprehensive railway service offer of KOLPREM be understood?
IIn order to carry out these tasks and face new challenges we focus primarily on improving quality and our work culture. Thus, we have to do more than only speak that our people are our main advantage. We actively pursue the core values of KOLPREM, including, without any doubt, respect for employees, ability to work in a team and dedication to dealing with subsequent challenges, which are our main driving force, but also ensuring health and safety at work that are our highest priority. In order to improve these aspects even more, on 21 April 2016 we signed a declaration concerning improvement in safety and culture of railway transport and intensification of related activities since development is impossible without ensuring safety. This statement is a reflection of the crucial issue.
Does KOLPREM provide railway transport services on the Broad Gauge Metallurgy Line?
The company has vehicles capable of driving on 1520 mm tracks; these are shunting locomotives TEM-2 and refurbished 16D series locomotives TEM-2. According to contracts signed between AMP S.A. and PKP LHS S.A., carriages with raw materials are brought to the delivery and acceptance point at the Ore Handling Base. Our task is to supply and handle wagons for discharge on tipplers. After unloading we transfer the wagons from arrival to departure tracks from which they are picked up by the locomotives of PKP LHS S.A. In winter, before the unloading, the wagons are transferred to the thawing unit. Thus, our tasks related to broad gauge tracks focus on shunting only.
Apart from railway transport what are other activities of your company?
KOLPREM was separated from the Railway Transport Division which took care, among other things, of maintaining the rolling stock and infrastructure. Subsequent stages of development of the company included consolidation with transport works or divisions operating within the area of: the former Katowice Steelworks, Sendzimir Steelworks, Cedler Steelworks, Florian Steelworks and Zdzieszowice Coke Plant. All those plants were independent. They had sufficient resources and personnel with experience in repairs and maintenance of carriages, locomotives and railway infrastructure of any type. The combination of organisms that had been independent before made it possible to cut down on the costs of productive maintenance. At present we provide internal locomotive productive maintenance up to level P3. On the other hand, wagons used for works transport are subject to full maintenance according to the documentation. In addition, we are responsible for maintaining the proper condition of railway infrastructure and railway traffic management units on every sidetrack. Generally, we handle the overhauls on our own account but if necessary we use third party services.
What are the company’s tasks this year?
Our strong point is the fact that we provide both external and internal transport services. Therefore, we enhance our works transport, and in particular the transport of raw materials to the sidetracks of respective plants, then to production companies, and finally to end customers - as finished products. The most important thing in this process is to focus on the needs of our customers. Cooperation between customers and KOLPREM brings good solutions and contributes to satisfaction of customers with our services. Our works transport is designed to increase the level of use of remotely controlled locomotives, which in turn contributes to increasing the level of safety. Many examples confirm that improved safety, reduced costs and better customer service are always closely interconnected.