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New Service: InterRail offers temperature-controlled rail transports between Europe and Asia

St. Gallen, 25 January 2024. The Swiss InterRail Group successfully carried out its first reefer container transports between Asia and Europe last year. This year, the transport company has added temperature-controlled rail transport to its regular range of services.

InterRail uses diesel-powered 45-foot pallet wide reefer containers on the route between Europe and Asia, which can cool or heat independently of the infrastructure on different modes of transport. The performance and internal temperature of the containers are monitored around the clock. Customers receive at least one detailed report per day with all relevant information about their goods. The refrigerated containers each hold up to 33 euro-pallets, the use of which allows for good air circulation within the container. Temperature-controlled rail transport offers a number of advantages over other modes of transport: it reaches its destination faster than by sea, is cheaper than air freight, and no transshipment of goods is necessary along the route.

Successful implementation

In late summer last year, InterRail transported 13.5 tonnes of high-quality Swiss chocolate from the Basel region to Shanghai. The reefer was operated at a set point of 12°C and proved its worth even under extreme outside temperatures of up to 42°C.  Another example of its successful use is the transport of miso ramen soups from Shanghai to Hamburg. The reefer container successfully protected the goods from the cold at a set point of 10 °C and a lowest outside temperature of -27 °C.

“Especially given the current situation in the Red Sea, our new product is an interesting option for certain sensitive/perishable goods that won’t stand the additional transit time caused by the alternative sea route via the Cape of Good Hope. In addition to the Europe – China route, we can also offer this service to and from Central Asia as well as within Europe,” says Stefaniea Klermund, Business Development Manager at InterRail Holding AG.


InterRail opens new branch office in Vienna / Austria

St. Gallen, July 21, 2022. On July 4, InterRail started operating a branch office in Austria, which is set up as a branch office of InterRail Europe GmbH (Germany). The team at the new office in Vienna is active in both operations and sales.

With the new location, InterRail is expanding its geographic coverage at the heart of Europe. From the Austrian capital, the experienced team concentrates on the Eastbound trains of InterRail Europe.

Austria in general, and Vienna specifically, are thriving business hubs in the trade between West and East, especially with the CIS.

“We are sure we can extend our operational and sales reach and assure further stable development for the InterRail Group”, says Jürgen Huschka, Member of the InterRail Group Management.


InterRail opens new branch office in Chennai, India

InterRail India Pvt. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the InterRail Group, opened a branch office in Chennai on April 6, 2022; branch manager is Vijayan Munusamy.

With this move, the InterRail Group is strengthening its network in the south of the country. InterRail has been active in India since 2010, and has in the meantime gained extensive market knowledge and industry expertise on the Indian subcontinent. International companies active in India also benefit from InterRail’s customer-oriented solutions, its international partner network and its offices established in the Eurasian region for their transport projects to and from India.

“The reason we opened a Chennai office is to cater to the market of Southern India, which is a hub for engineering goods, food products, garments and many other industries”, explains Vijay Narayan, Managing Director of InterRail India Pvt. Ltd.
With the Chennai location, InterRail India can cater to customers from Bangalore, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Tuticorin & Cochin and all South Indian regions.

“India is one of the world’s biggest and most dynamic economic regions; its gross domestic product is increasing every year. We are therefore convinced that our growing network and our know-how provide the ideal basis for expanding our portfolio and creating even more customized transport solutions, which include multimodal project logistics”, Vijay Narayan says. “With locations in Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Mumbai and now Chennai, InterRail is geographically very well positioned.”


InterRail Europe GmbH, Germany, with new Co-Managing Director

Igor Maiorov (43) has been appointed as Co-Managing Director of InterRail Europe GmbH, Germany. He took up his post on April 1, 2022. He has been with the company since 2017 holding various management positions, most recently as authorized signatory in the role of Director Operations. He is responsible for the planning, management and continuous optimization of the company’s operational processes, while Birgit Dehner, Managing Director of InterRail Europe since 2015, remains responsible for HR, Finance and Administration as before.

We took this opportunity to ask Igor a few questions.

After five years at InterRail Europe, you have now been appointed to the management board. What does this mean to you?
A great appreciation for the last five years and trust in my team and in me as a person. I am simply looking forward to the next steps together with InterRail Europe.

How would you describe InterRail in three sentences?
We are family-oriented, but still professional. We are down-to-earth, but we don’t make ourselves smaller than we are. We are sometimes groundbreaking, but sometimes also a bit crazy – in a positive sense. We are just the way we are.

How do you plan to approach your new role as managing director?
To stay true to myself and my principles. To approach my new task with a healthy dose of “respect”, and with a great will and desire to grow together with InterRail Europe and with the new challenges.

Where do you see the greatest potential for the further development of InterRail Europe? And what are the challenges InterRail Europe is facing?
The greatest potential of InterRail Europe lies in InterRail Europe itself. We take care of our employees, and our employees take care of our customers. Satisfied employees => Satisfied customers=>Satisfied InterRail

There is not just the ONE challenge. Shortage of skilled labor, a constantly changing and unstable market, congested infrastructure, rising cost of living. InterRail has to stay flexible and use its trump cards skillfully.

Please complete this sentence for us:
For a good work-life balance… I need my loved ones, fresh air, my garden and a modern employer who grants me my freedom.

And do you have a (life/work) motto?
“You can get it, if you really want”.

Thank you very much for your time!


Carrying momentum, continuing to grow

The best result for the last five years: The InterRail Group was able to close 2021 surprisingly well; the situation in global sea transport benefited the Rail segment.

St. Gallen, January 31, 2022. The best result for the last five years: The InterRail Group was able to close 2021 surprisingly well; the situation in global sea transport benefited the Rail segment. But it was not only external factors that favored the business performance.

How well did the InterRail Group get through 2021, we ask Hans Reinhard, Chairman of InterRail Holding AG. “The result was a positive surprise,” is the answer, “especially since we suffered from lockdowns twice in 2020, first in China, then in Europe – and all trains on the main China Europe trade lane were at a standstill for months.” The second half of 2020 then picked up momentum, he says: Large pent-up demand and many shippers switching to rail in the face of closed ports caused a massive increase in China-Europe rail freight.

“We then started the 2021 financial year with this momentum,” Hans Reinhard continues. The situation in the global transport sector was now characterized by new problems in sea transport – total port congestion, container shortages, temporary port lockdowns in China – plus continued pent-up demand – and rail freight became increasingly important as an alternative; China increased the number of train departures, the rail sector grew.


Great performance by all teams

“Our teams in all countries, not just those involved in the China-Europe Trade Lane, did a great job to generate this good result,” says Reinhard, in praise of the employees. Another key factor contributing to the success was the decision taken back in 2020, in the midst of the crisis, to hold on to staff and not “pull the emergency brake”. This is also in line with the spirit of the InterRail Group, which even in the earliest beginnings courageously believed in the success of block trains China Europe.


What’s next?

“The most important thing is to build on the extreme momentum of the previous year, also with investments, for example in new software for block train handling, or with a new start-up in Russia’s Far East and more intensive exploitation of the potential of the markets in Japan and Korea. We want to move forward! Our local managers are driven by ambition – they want to show that we are in the right place as a small fish in the shark tank and can keep up.”


New Business Development Manager

Stefaniea Klermund, InterRail Business Development Manager since December 1, 2021, is responsible for the strategic development of InterRail products and services, the identification of new markets and customer needs, and key account management for the entire InterRail Group. She holds a Master’s degree in Logistics and Transport Management, speaks German, English and Hungarian, and lives in Vienna with her family. After 100 days in her new position at InterRail, we had a few questions for her.

Stefaniea, how were your first 100 days “in office”? What have you been busy with?
I received a very nice and warm welcome at InterRail and I am happy to be part of a successful family business. From the very beginning, I have been given exciting and responsible tasks, which motivates me personally. I am working on new markets like Turkey, Japan or on alternative transport routes between Europe and Asia. At the moment, I am trying to put the collected ideas and potentials for InterRail on paper in the form of a business plan.

Another current topic, as in many industries, is sustainability. It is a long process to analyze potential relocation opportunities and thus improve the carbon footprint of the company and of our customers.

In addition, I work on customer requests that are not common and that go beyond the current portfolio. These include customized block train solutions for automotive customers, for example.

Due to the current geopolitical situation, the tasks and topics have of course changed to some extent. We are currently trying to find the best possible solution for the Middle Corridor route.

Where do you see the greatest potential for the development of InterRail traffics?
Steady growth in volume, an increased modal shift to rail, and an intensified presence in the market. Beside Europe – Asia traffics, InterRail also focuses on CIS countries, India, Japan, intra-European rail solutions and tries to diversify.

Are there any new markets that are developing, new destinations that are gaining in importance?
Due to the current political situation not only new destinations but also new corridors will gain importance. Time will tell how the sanctions will affect, among other things, overall pricing, modal shift and alternative corridors. I think the importance of the Middle Corridor of the Silk Road will increase and I hope that customers will adopt this solution as an alternative. This also demands a high flexibility for InterRail to successfully handle the new challenges operationally.

Due to the pandemic, companies have reconsidered the agility of their supply chain and positioned some production sites closer to the sales market, such as to Turkey.

The InterRail Group sees great potential in markets like Turkey and is well on its way to further growth. Due to the current situation, it is possible that this effect will be further strengthened. The InterRail Group sees great potential in markets such as Turkey and is well on its way to further growth. Among the three most important trade markets for Turkey are China and Germany.

My personal interest and know-how have been in reefer container transports by rail for quite some time. Due to the complexity in the planning and implementation of such transports, it is at this stage still a vision of the future to get reefers rolling.

What are the requirements of InterRail’s customers?
In general, this really depends on many factors; for some customers, transit time is crucial, for others, the transport rate is more important, and for still others, good service and communication are the top priorities. For many customers, agility is significant to provide quick solutions adapted to the current transport situation.  Personal, regular and honest customer contact is very important to me in order to do business together successfully.

What is your motto?
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you have to keep moving.” (Einstein)


InterRail strengthens its team

Jürgen Huschka, 41, has been the new Executive Director Eurasia of the InterRail Group since April 1. He comes on board as a proven Rail/China expert. Huschka worked for Panalpina in the overland segment and most recently in the management of Far East Land Bridge, an operator of block trains between Asia and Europe.

“With Jürgen Huschka, our ideal candidate has finally found his way to InterRail. With the newly created position of an ‘executive tradelane director’, InterRail Holding AG wanted to send a clear signal that we are increasingly focusing our attention on the earnings situation of a tradelane and less on the individual profit centers active on a tradelane,” says Hans Reinhard, Chairman of InterRail Holding AG. “We hope this will result in even more decisions in favor of the entire tradelane and thus more development momentum, especially for block train handling between China and Europe.”


InterRail with branch office in Nur-Sultan

InterRail Kazakhstan LLP, an Almaty-based subsidiary of InterRail Holding AG, Switzerland, has converted its former sales office in Nur-Sultan into an operational branch as of the end of January 2021.

St. Gallen, February 3, 2021. InterRail Kazakhstan LLP, an Almaty-based subsidiary of InterRail Holding AG, Switzerland, has converted its former sales office in Nur-Sultan into an operational branch as of the end of January 2021.

The office is headed by Bekzat Madiyarova; she has been working as sales manager for InterRail Kazakhstan in Nur-Sultan since the end of 2018.

The company offers containerized as well as conventional rail freight services in import, export and transit and has a direct cooperation agreement with Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ). The rail services are complemented by multimodal solutions and the provision of appropriate rolling stock. This includes special wagons such as hopper wagons and open-top wagons for bulk goods.

For the InterRail Group, Kazakhstan has always been a key market due to its importance as a bridge between Europe and Asia. The expansion of the local network is therefore a logical consequence of the InterRail Group’s geographic strategy.

InterRail at a glance:

The InterRail Group, registered in Switzerland, is an international transport group with a focus on rail freight, and the owner of rolling stock and containers. As the operator of container block trains between Europe and Asia, InterRail has the specific knowhow for the transport of conventional and containerized cargo from and to the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, as well as in CIS transit. InterRail has direct contracts with all national railway companies in the CIS. Among others, the service portfolio includes end-to-end freight rates, documentation, pre- and on-carriage for rail traffics, tracking and tracing as well as container provision. InterRail operates its own offices in Belarus, China, Germany, India, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.


InterRail train service from and to Uzbekistan has become firmly established

After eleven months, InterRail can draw a positive conclusion: The rail service from the Russian Port of Nakhodka-Vostochny to Uzbekistan and vice versa, which was launched in March 2018, registers growing demand and has thus successfully passed the trial phase. The connection has already been extended to include another (third) block train, so that now a departure can be offered every ten days in both directions. Transit time is between eleven and twelve days.

On this service, the Russian InterRail subsidiary cooperates closely with the colleagues in Uzbekistan, organizing the leasing of wagons, doing port handling, freight invoicing and putting the block trains together.

Increasingly, demand for this train service comes from Asian countries such as South Korea, China, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. Owing to close cooperation with big shipping lines, this service can be offered for SOC as well as for COC from and to every port worldwide.

Imports to Uzbekistan are mainly equipment for the automobile industry, car parts, household goods, resins and many more. Export goods are cotton yarn and cotton pulp, textiles, copper, cellulose, fertilizers and so on.

Owing to long-time partnerships and good cooperation with the railway companies selected, InterRail was able to successfully introduce new products and establish new routes in the past year. Today, InterRail mainly concentrates on traffics between China – Europe and China – CIS, Russia and India, as well as on the entire Central Asian corridor, operating its own local branch offices at all major interfaces.


InterRail with new branch office in New Delhi, India

In August, InterRail India Pvt. Ltd., a 100-percent subsidiary of the InterRail Gruppe, inaugurated a branch office in New Delhi. Branch manager is Puja Dang.

InterRail has been operating in India since 2010; the first three years via a delegation office, which was then turned into an independent, operative country unit. Thus, India has long been an important and future-oriented market for InterRail. The country, which belongs to the BRIC states, is among the fastest growing markets worldwide and an important trade partner for Russia and other CIS states. India is moreover an important hub for goods flows via China and Russian and North European ports.

“India and the CIS nations are countries with well-developed rail freight markets. Customers with transports in both directions turn to rail freight much more naturally than here in Europe. Thus, we had both geographical as well as strategic reasons to expand our network by adding another location in India, as this enables us also to strengthen our position in our other core markets”, explains Hans Reinhard, President of the Board of InterRail Holding AG.

“In the capital, all the major decisions concerning rail transport are made. Important industrial sites have developed over the past years on the outskirts of Delhi, too.  Moreover, we have been cooperating for some time already with one of the leading forwarders in Delhi, a subsidiary of the second biggest forwarder for diplomatic relocations in Germany. Their team has over 25 years of experience in this field. With our own office in Delhi, we can benefit even more from the expertise of our cooperation partner and further expand our sales activities in the region”, says Vijay Narayan, Managing Director of InterRail India Pvt. Ltd.

With three offices – in Ahmedabad, New Delhi, and Mumbai – InterRail is geographically very well positioned along the new freight corridor the Indian government has planned; the corridor connects Nava Sheva (Mumbai) and New Delhi.