“We have to remove technological and legal barriers at the interface of the main railway systems,” says Alexander Misharin
Alexander Misharin, First Deputy Managing Director of Russian Railways, has taken part in the strategic session "Erasing Borders: International Cooperation, Standardisation and Scaling." The session was held at the 2019 International Railway Congress now taking place in the Austrian capital Vienna.
In his speech, Misharin noted that joint rail shipments with foreign partners were increasing every year. Whereas five years ago, said Misharin, transit shipments through Russia were measured in tens of thousands of containers, the figure this year was expected to rise to over 700,000.
According to Misharin, however, a number of measures have to be implemented in order to increase the traffic volumes. Border crossing, transshipment, information and legal technologies in particular have to be developed further.
The First Deputy Managing Director of Russian Railways noted that nowadays, freight shipments not only go from Asia to Europe, but also in the opposite direction, with "reverse loading" amounting to 80%.
The prospects for the development of transport and rail competitiveness depend on improving the quality of the logistics product, with deliveries not from port-to-port, but door-to-door. This ideal, however, is often hampered by the technological differences in the railway systems of different countries.
"The Eurasian continent has more than 600,000 km of railways, which at the moment display large differences in their technology. This is not just the difference between the broad and narrow gauge tracks of 1520 mm and 1435 mm. Almost 100,000 km of railways use a gauge of 1670 mm, in particular, India’s biggest rail network, which is practically unconnected either technologically or normatively to the wider network. This represents both a huge hindrance in our work and great potential if we can remove the barriers between the main systems at their interface," said Alexander Misharin.
Misharin also drew attention to the need to increase the speed of freight shipments. In Misharin’s opinion, the railways have a huge potential in terms of speed and are capable of travelling up to 5,000 km per day. This figure can be reached by combining the railway systems of China, Europe and Russia into a single high-speed network.