Did you know Poland is one of the fastest developing countries in terms of sea and rail freight? This is one of the things I learnt when I met up with Arkadiusz Prejna to discuss the Polish transport and logistics market. Arkadiusz has spent over 20 years in the industry gaining extensive experience in various roles. Today, he is the Managing Director of Greencarrier Freight Services in Poland and responsible for key decisions and the development of the Polish, Czech and Slovakian branches.
Hi, Arkadiusz! Greencarrier Freight Services in Poland is a Swedish company with a strong bond to Finland – explain this!
That is right. Greencarrier Freight Services in Poland actually started out as a Finnish company in 2001. Back then, it was a family business run by the Jokinen family from the Finnish town Salo. After five years of successful growth, the company joined the Finnish Railway as part of the VR Group that operated passenger trains as well as freight services. In fact, the company was taken over in two stages, and by February 2008 it became fully owned by the Finnish Railway. However, after a few years, the company was offered a management buyout in Poland. The opportunity was taken, and Swedish investors from the transport and logistics industry were invited to join the project.
This is how Greencarrier Freight Services came about in Poland in March 2012. Today, our office is located in the very centre of Warsaw – where the very first IKEA store in Poland was built in the early 90s. The Polish-Finnish traffic is one of our main activities and biggest operations in terms of road traffic.
You are still today working closely together with Finland. What are the main differences between the markets and the way of doing business?
Poles and Finns have a lot in common. But there are also some differences that most likely relate back to historical events. As most people know, we have had a rough, challenging sixty years or so in Poland. Business conditions in the Soviet bloc were quite unconventional but inspired people to fight for survival and to want to improve their lives. This made the Polish people very individualised, and they adopted a certain approach to rules that is not necessarily in line with people in Western Europe – we Poles are not easily restrained!
Another difference is the approach to time. In Poland, we tend to have more of a short-term perspective whereas Finns focus more on the long term. Poles want things to happen right away and aim for quick results. Perhaps the situation was different 30 years ago before we won our freedom? The capital is still in its young stage, and the nation is perhaps not as mature compared to Finland. But this is also a good thing as it provides a fresh view on business matters!
Interesting! Tell me more about your collaboration across the borders?
Our employees here in Poland are in daily contact with our Finnish customers. At the moment, we are running a pilot project together with our Finnish colleagues to move parts of our customer service from Finland to Poland. In general, we have a great cultural exchange and learn a lot from each other.
Today, there are many companies entering the Polish transport and logistics market. How has it changed over the ten past years?
The Polish transport and logistics market today is a completely different story compared to only ten years ago. Today, it is crucial to be present on the Polish market, it is very competitive, and the companies that are planning to enter should not underestimate that. The Polish market has got a lot of potential, and there are a lot of opportunities to develop business all over Poland, also in the smaller cities, in particular on the eastern side of Poland, which is still relatively undiscovered. Due to EU funds, the infrastructure in cities such as Rzeszow and Bialystok has improved a lot. The Szczecin area is also booming. These cities were in “sleeping mode” until 2010 but are now rapidly growing, moving away from traditional businesses and towards new technologies and innovations.
What is your view on Greencarrier Freight Services’ role in Poland and the freight forwarding market?
The Polish subsidiary is a very important part of Greencarrier Freight Services’ business because of the location and size of the market. Before Greencarrier Freight Services was established in Poland, it was actually the only country in the Baltic Sea Area missing in our product portfolio. Poland is one of the fastest developing countries in terms of sea freight and rail freight. It is definitely a strategic market, not only for the Nordic countries but for the Baltic countries as well as China. When it comes to customer demand, there is an increasing interest in eco-friendly transport solutions including intermodal, sea freight and rail freight solutions on the Polish market.
What have been the key factors for Greencarrier Freight Services’ success in Poland?
I think it is the fact that we always do our very best to provide shipping services and transport solutions that truly meet our customers’ needs. We try to imagine what it is like to be in our customers’ shoes as part of our strategy. I also strongly believe that knowledge is one of the most important determinants to become a market leader in the freight forwarding industry. In general, Greencarrier is driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and our core values; humour and joy, commitment, and involvement. This comes from our founders, Stefan and Björn.
How do you practice your core values on a day-to-day basis?
Humour and joy, for example, means that we believe a positive attitude and a happy atmosphere help us achieve better. We enjoy going to work, embrace each other’s success, and have fun together. A good example is when we celebrated our 15th anniversary in Gothenburg in Sweden last year. Nearly 600 people attended, and colleagues from all around the world gathered – there was a lot of laughter!
Last but not least – how do you motivate and inspire your colleagues?
Motivation and inspiration is a complex subject. But I would say it is closely connected to our values. Sure, we are all working to earn money. However, an increase in salary only provides so much satisfaction. Personally, I think you need to give people enough space to do things their own way. When given responsibility, it is so much more rewarding to work hard for good results!
I agree with you! Thank you, Arkadiusz, for a very nice conversation!
Did you enjoy getting to know Arkadiusz a bit closer? Would you like to meet more of our employees? Pop by our Freight Forwarding Center! There, you will find lots of interesting and inspiring blog articles on different topics. Curious about how we can help you with your shipment? Learn more about our transport solutions here!