Balancing Container Flows and Fair Access to Railway Infrastructure Required to Capture Opportunities of Eastward Pathway in Logistics
Asia-Pacific (APR) countries play an increasing role in Russia's foreign trade balance: following the results of 8 months of 2023, almost 80% of the international container flow (2.25 million out of 2.6 million TEUs) were attributed to the traffic with APR markets, of which 95% were attributed to China.
However, due to various restrictions, about one third of the effective demand of Russian exporters for the products shipment in this direction cannot be currently covered due to the lack of transportation resources, said Vitaly Evdokimenko, President of PJSC TransContainer (part of Delo Group), during the Russia-China business dialogue at the Eastern Economic Forum.
To leverage the power of the growing eastward pathway in container logistics, a number of regulatory and engineering challenges need to be addressed.
In particular, the country's authorities have set a task to ensure shipment of container-based imports from the Far East for a total of 6-6.5 thousand TEUs per day (with the current 3.3 thousand TEUs per day on average). To do this, export traffic needs to be increased. "We aim to reach a level of up to 4,500 TEUs. We expect to dispatch the remaining volume of imports from the Far Eastern ports totaling 1-1.5 thousand TEUs (up to 10 block trains), using open-box wagons, - said the president of TransContainer.
As part of the solution of this task, there is much concern about shipment of cargo exports from the stations of Krasnoyarskaya and Vostochno-Sibirskaya Railways to the Far Eastern ports and border-crossing points. Thus, for 8 months of 2023, container exports from these mainline railways decreased by 45 thousand TEUs. It is required to keep to a minimum disbalance in arrivals and departures of flatcars and containers at these railways. Within the period from January to August of the current year, there were 4,048 trains were dispatched from these mainline railways, while only 1,725 trains arrived there, as emphasized Vitaly Evdokimenko.
Given the scarcity of available resources in the Eastern Polygon of the Russian Railways, the task of equitable distribution thereof is of paramount importance. "In this regard, it is necessary to resume the updated Rules for Non-Discriminatory Access to the Infrastructure of Railway Transport and to adopt the Consignor’s Container Transportation Plan Formation Regulations under the said Rules within the shortest time possible, as well as to monitor implementation thereof with an equal network access for all the market players", said the head of the company. At the same time, he acknowledged the collective work that is being performed with involvement of JSC RZD on the implementation of technology of transportation by trains of increased length.
Furthermore, in order to address the problem of the scarcity of the wagon fleet, TransContainer takes the initiative to extend the service life of certain types of rolling stock, including fitting platforms. Currently, any operation of wagons with extended service life is not allowed in the Russian Federation without their upgrade and subsequent certification according to the regulatory standards of the Technical Regulation of the Customs Union.