Štefan Eštók, CER: We are expanding into Poland

Štefan Eštók, CER: We are expanding into Poland
Štefan Eštók, Deputy General Manager of CER Cargo Holding

In an exclusive interview with RAILMARKET.com, Štefan Eštók, Deputy General Manager of CER Cargo Holding, reveals the company's plans for Europe.

RM: Stefan, what are the main activities and focus of CER Cargo Holding?

Štefan Eštók: The main activity of CER Cargo Holding is domestic, export, import and transit rail freight transport in the system of integrated trains. This enables CER to offer an interesting alternative to road and water transport. The aim of CER's comprehensive rail freight transport is to deliver goods to customers safely, without damage or problems and, of course, on time.

RM: What are your next business plans?

Štefan Eštók: There are many plans. We have invested a lot in a new terminal in Hungary. And we are about to start new shipping lines in Central Europe and the Balkans. We have also invested in a new locomotive, which will be delivered this year. Our long-term strategic goal remains further growth in the European markets. We have recently taken important steps towards operating in a major European country. We have registered an office in Cluj, Romania. And I shouldn't forget to mention that we have already completed the process of obtaining a licence in Croatia as a representative office of CER Cargo d.o.o.

RM: You said that you are doing business in a major European country, could you elaborate on that?

Štefan Eštók: We have just agreed with the owner to open a branch in Poland, we have already established a company there, and now we are working on getting all the licences and safety certificates we need to further develop our portfolio.

RM: How did you get started in the railway business?

Štefan Eštók: I have been lucky enough to work in all kinds of positions in the railway market. I started as a shunter and then I slowly learned, I developed my knowledge, I was a shift supervisor, an investigator, an operations manager, then a dispatcher in a private company, a dispatcher manager, a technician, a deputy director, a director, a deputy general manager and now, it's 2023, so I still have one big job ahead of me - the post of general manager.

RM: You mentioned that you were an investigator for the railway. How has safety, track security and operations changed over the years?

Štefan Eštók: It's certainly much better than it was 10 years ago, both in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia and Hungary. And it is in the Czech Republic that you have the longest line equipped with the ETCS safety system. In Slovakia, unfortunately, we don't have that much, but they are planning to do it anyway, and in Hungary there are also about 80 km with this system, so the Czech Republic has certainly made great progress in terms of railway safety.

RM: The ETCS system you mentioned is part of the process of digitalisation of the railways. How is the CER Group dealing with digitalisation at the moment?

Štefan Eštók: CER Cargo Holding is investing heavily in the digitalisation of internal processes in order to achieve faster transport planning, automatic shift management for drivers and more. The cooperation with digital platform RAILVIS.com is a natural part of this, as it enables us to further optimise locomotive and wagon operations.

RM: What are the most used features of this application?

Štefan Eštók: Each department uses different features. The operations/planning department works with locomotive routes so that the transport of empty locomotives from A to B is used efficiently. The fleet department searches for and offers free locomotive capacity in countries where we have a carrier licence, such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. And the sales department usually searches for available wagons to meet the needs of our customers.

Join Our Circle of Insiders: Receive the Weekly Digest That Keeps You Ahead!

Not using RAILVIS Platform yet?

Rent a wagon, sell a locomotive, find a container, convert free capacity to profit. The RAILVIS Platform is the tool you need. It's faster, better organized, and more secure than email or phone calls.

Try RAILVIS Railway Marketplace
RAILVIS screenshot