PKP (the Polish State Railways) was established in 1926 as a state-owned enterprise to consolidate the three railway systems operating in Polish areas that had been taken over from Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary. PKP’s operations included both freight and passenger transport, as well as rail infrastructure management.
PKP functioned as a centralised entity until 2001, at which point the process of restructuring state railways was initiated. PKP was transformed into a joint stock company owned by the State Treasury, while transport services and infrastructure management were spun off into separate companies, controlled by PKP.
As part of this process, PKP CARGO S.A. was established in October 2001, upon approval of the Minister of Transport. The company took over the freight side of the former PKP (employees, rolling stock, sidings, some of the property). In 2013, PKP CARGO debuted on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, becoming the first listed rail freight operator in the European Union.