Yakunin: "Development of Trans-Siberian transport is a key aspect of Russia's modernisation and strategic development"
Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways, took part in the plenary session of the International Association "Coordinating Council on Trans-Siberian Transportation" (CCTT), which is being held in the Russian town of Yekaterinburg on 4 and 5 September 2014.
At the meeting, Yakunin addressed the functioning of the East-West transport corridor, discussed the prospects of further harmonising the legal regulation of international freight transport, and possible measures to improve the efficiency of container traffic between Europe, the Baltic States, Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific region using the Trans-Siberian Railway against the background of increasing global competition.
Opening the session, Vladimir Yakunin said that the project to develop the railway infrastructure of the Baikal-Amur Main Line (BAM) and Trans-Siberian Railway is central to the country's long-term economic development. Its implementation will not only allow Russia's largest companies to increase their annual freight exports, but will also contribute to the development of industrial enterprises in the regions, create jobs and generate the necessary economic conditions for the effective and sustainable development of Siberia and Russia's Far East.
The most important task of Russian Railways in the coming years is to eliminate infrastructure constraints to freight transport on the Trans-Siberian. At present, capacity utilisation on a significant part of the line's sections is more than 75%, which makes it impossible to increase the volume of traffic, including transit containers.
According to the president of Russian Railways, transport corridors should be one of the catalysts in the inevitable process of Eurasia's economic convergence and international integration, while the creation of sustainable supply chains for the delivery of goods between Europe and Asia using the Trans-Siberian is strategically beneficial to both Russia and all countries across the continent.
To ensure that projected freight volumes are realised, Russian Railways has launched a series of priority measures to develop infrastructure on the BAM and the main route and branches of the Trans-Siberian
In 2014, a project will be completed to link the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Korean main lines by reconstructing the rail section between Khasan in Russia and Rajin in North Korea and constructing a universal cargo terminal. In the future, this project will provide a direct rail link between Europe and South Korea and significantly increase the attractiveness of dispatching South Korean container freight by rail.
The Company is continuing to work on the project to create a new Eurasian transport corridor. Using the 1,520 mm broad gauge track from Bratislava and Vienna will establish a direct link between the railway system in Central Europe and the Asia-Pacific region via the Trans-Siberian Railway. According to experts, this project will result in the increased global competitiveness of rail compared with sea routes via the Suez Canal and attract new freight flows, primarily in containers.
The most promising areas for attracting traffic to the Trans-Siberian are goods from the northern and north-eastern regions of China, Korea and Japan.
Moreover, in his speech, Vladimir Yakunin said that the growth of Eurasian traffic by just one percent would increase freight revenues by about USD 5 billion.
Trans-Siberian container freight is increasing steadily. Thus, in the first half of 2014, the total amount of containerised cargo increased by 8% compared with the same period in 2013. The volume of transit in the first 6 months of 2014 increased by 22% compared to the same period last year.
Container services are flexible tools for shaping the supply chain to meet the requirements of different companies - both manufacturers and retailers. The CCTT has therefore supported a series of container services between China – Europe and the Baltic countries – Central Asia, as well as the implementation of new projects in the framework of the project "Transsiberian in 7 days."
CCTT faces important challenges in developing international intermodal business along the East - West corridor:
- improving through transportation services along the Trans-Siberian, improving their quality, eliminating bottlenecks and adopting advanced experience and best practices;
- creating the conditions to enable the realisation of the economic interests of all participants in the transportation and logistics business,
- optimising the passage of goods along all parts of the supply chain.
- The session's participants noted that the Coordinating Council on Transsiberian Transportation was a successful platform for cooperation and interaction between railway companies and ports, sea carriers, stevedoring companies and the effective exchange of information between them, as well as for the development of competitive intermodal transport products.
"The formation of effective logistics chains and organisational processes for freight transportation are possible only through the close collaboration of all stakeholders based on the principles of openness and partnership. That is the only way we will achieve adequate and efficient solutions to the problems hindering the competitive growth of Trans-Siberian transport. Russian Railways is ready to provide high quality, timely and cost-effective deliveries of any goods between Europe and Asia. We will do whatever is necessary to implement the obligations we have taken on and to create new growth opportunities," said Vladimir Yakunin.