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            october 22, 2019

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Samskip adds Greece to its pan-European multimodal network


Europe’s leading multimodal container operator Samskip has added Greece to the list of countries in Southern Europe that it now serves by road and rail. It has appointed one of Greece’s major transport and logistics specialists, Carel Ltd, as its agent and has launched rail services linking Mannheim and Rotterdam with  Athens and Thessaloniki. 
Paul J Swaak, Director Strategic Development for Samskip Multimodal Container Logistics explained that Samskip had been looking closely at Greece since early 2006 but only now did the company feel the time was right: 
“With Greece’s major port, Piraeus, in constant turmoil, shippers are looking with new interest at the scope for intermodal transport to and from Greece. Shipping all-water from Northern Europe to Greece is fraught with problems and trucking becomes more expensive every time there is a rise in the price of a gallon of crude oil. Moving cargo in our 45ft palletwide (pw) containers by rail now makes a very competitive and environmentally friendly alternative, faster than sea and cheaper than road transport. 
“We have now secured a reliable connection by rail into Thessaloniki and Athens and the first boxes have moved into Greece, arrived within the lead times and have been shipped back loaded.”  
The latter is, according to Mr Swaak, crucial if one is to offer a sustainable and attractive product: 
“It is pretty easy to ship containers to Greece but not so easy to find backloads. The economics don’t work if you have to ship empties northbound” 
Mr Swaak is sure that Samskip MCL has found a reliable partner in Carel Ltd: 
“Carel is one of the leading forwarders in Greece, handling more than 10,000TEU per annum. It has an excellent reputation in the market and is not frightened of innovation.” 
Carel’s Managing Director, Lefteris Karoulis, agreed: 
“These are still early days for multimodal operations in Greece but we like to be pioneers. We enjoy working on such ground and we aim to establish a strong base and be the leading Greek-owned company in the market. 
“Greece is completely integrated into Samskip’s multimodal service network, connecting both West and East Europe to the Greek peninsula. Via Patras, Athens and Thessaloniki, containers will be transferred to/from the frequent rail shuttles connecting to rail terminals in Rotterdam and Mannheim.  
“From Rotterdam, connections can be made with Samskip’s shortsea services to/from the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, the Baltic States and Russia, while from Mannheim the whole of Central Europe is served. The shuttles run on fixed schedules, resulting in reliable departure and arrival times.” 
Mr Swaak added: 
“We can offer 45ft pw hi-cube containers able to transport 33 pallets, 45ft curtain-sided containers, 45ft reefers and 45 ft flatracks. You could say we do not sell a simple transport product; we sell a total logistics solution tuned to the needs of the European market.  Local sales and customer service provided by Carel ensures the best local presence for Samskip in Greece.”

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