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Oct 29, 2019

Russian Railways says other countries would benefit from switching freight to Russian broad-gauge track

Oleg Belozerov, the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Management Board of Russian Railways, has proposed to other countries that they should consider options for transferring their freight shipments to the Russian broad-gauge 1520mm track, develop a hub structure and implement joint technological projects.

Belozerov was speaking at the plenary session of the forum "PRO//The Future of the 1520Space. Competition or Cooperation? Where Do National Transport Interests Converge?" at the Forum PRO // Movement. 1520," which is currently being held in Sochi in Southern Russia.

The Company CEO said that the project for the construction of a Russian broad-gauge 1,520 mm railway line to Vienna was an example of a possible mechanism for cooperation in attracting freight.

According to Belozerov, one of the problems today was the difference between the laws in force on the "1520 Space" and beyond.

"It is very important for the railways to respond quickly and flexibly to changing policies. We need to move in all possible directions, introducing modern technologies very quickly," said Belozerov.

He went on to note that today, Russian Railways was registering explosive growth in dispatching goods in containers, the most modern and technologically advanced form of transportation.

In 2018, containers amounting to 553,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) were transported in transit on the Russian railway network, over one third more than a year earlier, with the exact figure reaching 34% more than in 2017.

This year, it is planned to transport more than 600,000 TEUs, with the goal of 1.7 million TEUs by 2025 set by Russian president.

"We should not compete, but mutually complement our capabilities with other modes of transport. We therefore work with our maritime colleagues such as Maersk, FESCO and other companies that actively offer end-to-end services with a high proportion of the railway component," said the head of Russian Railways.

Freight consisting mainly of electronics and components from Korea and Japan, for example, goes by sea to the Russian port of Vostochny and then along the Trans-Siberian Railway to the terminal in St. Petersburg and from there is delivered by ship to Gdansk in Poland.

Since September 2019, test shipments of containers with fully electronic documentary support have been shipped along the multimodal Yokohama - Vladivostok - Moscow route by Russian Railways together with FESCO within the framework of the INTERTRAN project.

"We have excellent cooperation with customs and forged ahead with electronic documentation. Just recently, inspections of our containers in ports in the Far East used to take between 4 and 7 days, but today clearance is done almost instantly," said Oleg Belozerov.

The Russian-Kazakh-Belarusian joint venture the United Transport and Logistics Company – Eurasian Rail Alliance" (JSC UTLC ERA) helps to maximise the capabilities of national railway systems and provides a seamless service for the delivery of containerised goods, whose rising volumes set new records every year.

The routes and services offered by UTLC ERA are growing constantly, with new locations being added all the time in both China and in Europe. The number of routes has already reached 75. In 2019, UTLC ERA began transporting goods in container trains from China to Verona and Milan and to Luxembourg.

UTLC ERA’s routes and the quality of its services in providing container trains have made it possible for leading carmakers to switch their vehicles to rail transport. UTLC ERA is currently transporting Volvos, Mercedes, AUDIs, Porsches and Range Rovers from Europe to China by rail.

RZD Logistics offers the Agroexpress service, which it operates jointly with the Russian Export Centre.

Agroexpress transports Russian agricultural products to China in accelerated container trains, including in refrigerated containers.

The Agroexpress reduces significantly the delivery times of food products to China compared with the sea route, cuts significantly the total transport costs of Russian exporters and opens new markets for suppliers within China.

At the same time, the Agroexpress opens up new opportunities for Chinese exporters, who supply their products to the Russian market in reverse loading mode.

"We are considering new routes, including by achieving maximum integration with our Lithuanian and Belarusian colleagues, transit routes and short-range transport by sea that go from China to Kaliningrad and then on to Europe by sea. We are still working on a large number of services which, I believe, will bring rail transport to a new level of competitiveness," said Oleg Belozerov.

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