Guiding InterRail through challenging times
St. Gallen, January 23, 2023. For a review of 2022 and an outlook on 2023, we interviewed the new InterRail Group Management, consisting of Yuri Kulakin, Jürgen Huschka and Dilshod Suleymanov.
“We have been facing many changes around the globe affecting the business of InterRail since our appointment in early 2022. We have to run fast in order to update our solutions to the global and local market givens. We have been able to make many local, important decisions that benefitted the group as a whole,” says Yuri Kulakin, one of the three Managers of the InterRail Group.
He and his colleagues Dilshod Suleymanov and Jürgen Huschka were appointed to the helm of the InterRail Group to succeed Hans Reinhard, who had headed the Group since it was founded in 2004.
“Daily communication and weekly meetings between the three of us from Western and Eastern Europe and Eurasia keep us informed on daily developments in all parts of our business geography, and allow us to and react promptly to challenges and opportunities,” add Dilshod Suleymanov and Jürgen Huschka.
What rail corridors are currently most in use?
The main IR traffics are connecting China with Europe, the CIS and Central Asia. We keep offering to our customers all the rail and multimodal routes which are functioning. Due to the geo-political situation, we have to design new routes, or re-activate products that were less popular or uncompetitive before.
How did you get through the 2022 business year?
The InterRail Group is well positioned in 2022, with performance outdoing expectations in several countries. Despite many challenges, we can’t complain. It has been very difficult year with challenges we never faced before, but team work and a strong will to survive brought positive results.
We had a big boost in Q1 to Q3/2022, with our existing and also new clients on this corridor – but faced a significant volume drop in Q4 on the China – Europe toute, while still having good stable volumes from Europe to China – which is really challenging these days.
Are there plans to introduce new products?
We keep pioneering and constantly focus on creating and designing new routes and products for the market and our customers. The current situation put real pressure on traditional routes, causing congestions and delays. Thus, we are constantly researching new products and alternative routes. There are plans to develop new products on the China-Central Asia and Europe-Central Asia corridors. Our current development in India is supported by the growing importance of the North-South corridor. And we recently started in Turkey, which will serve as a hub for new traffics.
Where would you like see the Group three / five years from now?
As per our strategy, we want to focus on our three areas of business. In some locations, we already offer all three segments: conventional cargo, block trains and multimodal traffic, and we want to extend this model to our existing and future locations, as we are also planning to expand to new locations and countries. In five years’ time, we want to see the InterRail companies working and cooperating in harmony, complementing each other with added value services on the Eurasia corridor, with sustainable business and tailor-made services.