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23.06.2020   09:14

Russian Railways to support development of EAEU agricultural rail delivery network

The Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov and the Minister of Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission Andrey Slepnev have held a meeting by video conference.

During the meeting, they reached an agreement to support the development of an agricultural rail delivery network in the EAEU and approved a road map for cooperation on the issue with the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union. The experience of creating a rail delivery network for transporting agricultural products to China by can be used to form routes for the shipment of goods produced by the Russian agro-industrial complex to the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

"Given the supranational status of the EEC, we see a whole range of areas for our cooperation, both in promoting Russian railway products and services on foreign markets, and in terms of creating favourable conditions for rail users in the EAEU," said Oleg Belozurov.

Andrey Slepnev noted that the Union’s member states are significant players on the global agricultural market. At the same time, he said there was the potential to increase supplies significantly by attracting exporters from other EAEU countries to the project.

"We believe that the project for transporting agricultural products to China has huge growth potential within the Union. In 2019, China was the world’s top importer of soybeans, frozen beef, chicken and fish, and the second biggest importer of rapeseed, sunflower oil, crustaceans and pork. China also accounts for a significant share of dairy imports," the minister said.

Currently, the RZD Holding is already implementing a whole range of transport and logistics solutions in order to develop non-commodity exports.

From December 2019, the AgroExpress service has been operating on a regular basis. It involves accelerated container deliveries of Russian agricultural and food industry products for export both as part of train formations and with the possibility of supplying individual containers at shipping consolidation points. Cargoes are dispatched on standard trains from Selyatino station in the Moscow region and Vorsino station in the Kaluga region to destinations in China. Under the terms of the service, enterprises can attach their platforms loaded with containers enroute to the consolidation points or send a separate 40-foot container as part of the train. There is also the possibility of reverse loading for Chinese exporters supplying perishable products to the Russian market.

The service reduces the delivery times of Russian food supplies, as well as the transportation costs of domestic exporters thanks to the built-in export-import logistics.

In May 2020, RZD Logisticsdispatched the first consignment of frozen chicken meat in an autonomous refrigerated container from Russia (Selyatino) to China (Chongqing). As part of the AgroExpress development project, it is planned to organise up to four "cold" container trains per month.

According to Oleg Belozerov, in order to successfully scale the project, it is necessary to improve the regulatory framework and carry out a number of organisational measures in the EAEU member states.

These include the creation of a single customs transit system using the EEC information resource to switch to full electronic paperwork when transporting goods through several EAEU member states under the customs transit procedure.

Electronic cooperation has already been established with the Republic of Belarus. Since the second half of 2019, Russian Railways, together with the Russian Federal Trade Commission, the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Belarus and Belarusian Railways, have been carrying out the transportation function when the cargo is transported from South-East Asia to Europe on the routes Naushka – Brest, Naushki – Orsha and Naushki – Kolyadichi using electronic paperwork.

Work currently is underway to implement the same principle in the opposite direction from Europe to South-East Asia through the Brest and Zabaikalsk border crossings.

During the meeting, it was noted that it is necessary to integrate the information systems of the supervisory bodies from all the EAEU member states. This would remove the existing issues regarding control over the export of temporarily imported shipping containers and minimise the risks of vehicle delays at the EAEU customs border due to the lack of confirmation about the legality of their import in the national customs systems.

During the meeting, it was also agreed to include representatives of Russian Railways in industry working groups to discuss problematic issues arising with regard to access to third-country markets, as well as promising areas of cooperation with EAEU partners on agreements.