Container traffic on Trans-Siberian increased by a quarter from January to August 2019
In the 8 months from January to September 2019, the shipment of containers on the Trans-Siberian Railway increased by 25% compared to the same period last year and amounted to 727,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), according to Oleg Belozerov, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of OJSC Russian Railways. Belozerov was speaking at the plenary session of the Coordinating Council on Trans-Siberian Transportation on 19 September 2019 in Nur Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan.
"Today we are witnessing an increase in the volume of rail container traffic between China and Europe which is outpacing not only the growth rate of Eurasian freight flows by other modes of transport, but also the dynamics of foreign trade in general," said Belozerov.
In 2018, the international transportation of containers along Trans-Siberian increased by 23% and amounted to about 950,000 TEUs, of which one in four was a transit shipment.
"It is significant that over the last 8 years, the volume of container traffic from China to Europe via Kazakhstan has increased by more than 200 times," said Oleg Belozerov.
Belozerov also said that the transit of containers on Russian railways is expected to increase fourfold by 2024, and the Company was making significant efforts to achieve this figure.
In particular, work is underway to modernise the Trans-Siberian and Baikal-Amur Main Lines. The capacity of a number of sections along these railway lines has already been increased by more than a third since the start of a large-scale project in 2013. In January 2019, the average route speed of transit container trains in Russia was 1,134 kilometres per day.
Last year, the construction of terminals on the Russian-Polish border in the Kaliningrad region was completed. These terminals can now handle up to half a million containers per annum.
The CEO of Russian Railways also said that together with the Association of Trans-Siberian Intermodal Operators of Japan, it had carried out a number of test shipments of containers from Japan.
"We are actively and systematically preparing to begin servicing Japanese shippers and customers, who are very demanding in terms of the quality and stability of transportation," he said.
Speaking about the promising mechanisms for attracting new goods and reducing delivery times, Oleg Belozerov noted the increasing role of digital tools in removing barriers between countries.
"Time dictates our agenda. The digitalisation or even digital transformation of the rail and logistics sectors is both a challenge and a joint new opportunity for the development of transport across the Eurasian space," he said.