Europe to Asia freight and vv

Topic moved from International News by bevans on 27 Dec 2014 08:27
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
Weiss Röhlig has launched a new Trans-Siberian container service from the Russian Far East to Russia and Central Asia.

The service connects China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and South East Asia with more than 2,000 railway stations in the emerging markets of Russia and CIS countries.

The rail head is located close to the ports of Vladivostok and Vostochny, providing an intermodal hub for intra-Asia carriers to connect into the Trans-Siberian rail network. The Trans-Siberian service connects through the Moscow hub and then cargo is moved on to Russia and Central Asia.

According to Franco Ravazzolo, manager of Project Logistics & Break Bulk, demand is increasing for direct services from China to Russia and Central Asia via rail, rather than shipping to Northern Europe and then connecting to the European rail network.

"Our customers are looking for more flexible options in terms of time to market and cost, and rail freight allows us to deliver direct to customers in inland areas of Russia and the CIS taking out the ocean leg," said Ravazzolo.

Transit times from Vladivostok and Vostochny to Moscow are between nine and ten days, with one or two days' clearance needed at port.

Weiss Röhlig also operates its Trans-China route connecting the east of China to Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.

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  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
Berlin - Germany's DeutscheBahn railway company said Tuesday it could run a commercial 10,300-kilometre freight route from inland China to Europe this year if there was enough demand.
Deutsche Bahn's announcement came after a test train trip from Chongquing, China successfully ended late Monday in Duisburg, Germany.
It was Deutsche Bahn's second attempt to open up the rail connection as a faster alternative to using ships.
Previous China-Europe tests, via Russia's Trans-Siberian Railway, were 2,000 kilometres longer and failed to attract customers.
The new, more southerly route skirts southern Mongolia, crossing from China to Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland. The trains take 16 days to cover the distance, with stops for customs checks, but that is half as long as the sea journey.
Bahn said the route may appeal to exporters in China's hinterland, but setting up the connection will now depend on whether customers demand such transport. Pricing is below that for airfreight, but more expensive than for sea transport.
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
A new rail connection for cargo between Antwerp in Belgium and Southwest China’s Chongqing was presented May 9 (local time) in Antwerp.

The first train on this rail was launched on the night of May 9, from the Antwerp port to Chongqing, signaling the official opening of the rail line.

The launch of the railway between Chongqing – the biggest transportation hub in western China-- and Antwerp – the second-largest port in Europe with cargo reaching 178 million tons-- opens another link connecting Asia and Europe.

Compared with the 36 days consumed on the maritime line between the ports in eastern China and western Europe, it takes only 20 to 25 days from Chongqing to Antwerp by railroad, and it will be shortened to 15 to 20 days in the future.

The10,000-kilometer rail connection runs from Antwerp over Germany and Poland to Ukraine, and Russia.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
SOCHI, Russia, June 3 (UPI) -- Europe and Asia can more easily develop long-term trade and cultural partnerships by integrating the two continents' rail systems, Russian officials say.

Rail transport representatives from 32 countries -- including chief executive officers of national railways, private railway carriers, equipment makers and government officials -- were working toward that goal in Sochi, Russia, at a major conference this week.

"We will seek solutions aimed at creating an efficient transportation and logistical system for both the 'broad' and 'narrow' gauge lines and eliminating barriers that hinder the movement of commodities and passenger transportation," Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin, one of the hosts of the conference, said Wednesday.

The main motivator behind the talks at the Sixth International Rail Business Forum is the prospect of connecting Chinese-made products with the EU market via overland rail routes through Russia, Yakunin said.

"Today we clearly understand that the growth potential in the railway sector can be unlocked through the development of railway transportation routes," he said. "(The) Chinese economy is expected to outpace the United States' (by) 2050.

"Our vision should be focused on the developments that will take place between 2030 and 2050, since rapid infrastructure development is a sine qua non for economic growth."

One of the big barriers to integrating the Asian and European rail systems are the differing widths of tracks in different countries. There are two standards: 1,520mm, or "broad" gauge, and 1,435mm, or "narrow" gauge, tracks.

Russia, the former Soviet states, the Baltic states, Mongolia and Finland use the broad-gauge tracks, covering an area of more than 93,000 miles, while North America, Europe, China and some other countries use the narrower standard.

A cooperation strategy for the "1,520 and 1,435 stretches" is the first order of business for the Sochi forum. One of the goals is to make the rail transport of containers from the Far East to Russia's western borders possible in only seven days.

Among the companies and industry groups sending representatives to the event are DB International, Siemens AG, the International Union of Railways and Belarusian Railways.

The Sochi conference was to also feature a discussion chaired Siemens AG on the prospects of establishing international consortiums to build and jointly manage high-speed rail lines and fostering investments in them.

Russia has shown new interest in international rail integration since reinstating its membership in the International Union of Railways in 2008. Since then, Yakunin said, "we are currently trying to bridge the gap in the practical areas."

The country has since embarked on an ambitious program of rail modernization. It has called for $450 billion in long-term investments by 2030. The money, Yakunin has said, will come partly from privatizations of government-held assets.

It envisions two phases, the Bucharest industry trade journal Railway Pro reported. The first stage, which lasts until 2015, will include the modernization of 8,600 miles of existing routes and the construction of both new high-speed passenger lines and freight lines, which are expected to spawn new industrial areas.

A second phase, the journal said, would be to build 10,000 miles of new railway routes by 2030.
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Rail freight service open for business


A rail freight service between the port of Chongqing and Antwerp is officially open for business, marking the realisation of the Eurasian Land Bridge, according to reports.
Established in 2010 by POM Antwerp Development Authority, the Antwerp Port Authority and Belgian Customs, the service—run by Swiss intermodal logistics provider Hupac and its Russian partner Russkaya Troyka and Eurasia Goods Transport—will run over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 miles) from Chongqing through Mongolia, Russia, the Ukraine and Germany before reaching Antwerp.
Ocean transit from Chongqing takes 36 days compared to the rail journey of 20 to 25 days, which will be cut to 15 to 20 days once kinks are removed. Thus, it offers a logistics solution that is faster than ocean carriage and cheaper than air freight.
As the largest rail hub in western China, Chongqing has a rail freight terminal with annual cargo capacity of about 2 million TEUs. The city opened freight services for the southern section of the Eurasian Land Bridge in 2010. The Eurasian Land Bridge passes Xinjiang’s Alataw Pass and Kazakhstan, ends in Moscow, and the freight rail was extended to Germany’s Duisburg via Poland in March 2011 before further expanding to Antwerp in May.
The Port of Antwerp is the second largest in Europe and handled 178 million tonnes in 2010. It is also Europe’s leading rail port, providing 250 cargo trains per day, the report said.
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
A CARGO train laden with the products of some of China's most advanced factories has begun an epic journey west from the gargantuan city of Chongqing - marking the official opening of a trade corridor designed by the Chinese Government to reroute the flow of global commerce.

Some 13 days and 11,179km later, the containers of LCD television screens and laptop computers will arrive in Duisburg, Germany, extending the logistical reach of Chinese industry deeper into the heart of Europe than ever before.

Economists at the China Insider research group believe that as the new rail route begins to shift more cargo directly to customers in Western Europe, Chongqing and western China will become correspondingly more important engine rooms of the world's second-biggest economy.

With the inaugural voyage came a blunt warning to British business from the former European Trade Commissioner, Lord Mandelson: act now, or miss the opportunity of a lifetime. "The emergence of Chongqing as the industrial and financial nexus of western China - and even central Asia - creates very significant demand for Britain's service sector," he told The Times during a visit to Chongqing with members of the Institute for Public Policy Research.

The track linking China and Duisburg - and soon Antwerp - has been technically useable for nearly a decade but hampered by stalled talks with the countries that it passes through. Beijing spent last year plunging huge diplomatic capital into opening the route and striking the customs deals with Moscow that made the project viable."This is a city that is soon going to be producing a fifth of the world's laptops. Chongqing has become a place that needs legal services, financial services, accountancy, advertising. Nobody can afford to miss it by moving too slowly."

Five territories - the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous R egion, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland - will be crossed as the train makes its way between China and Germany, shifting goods in about a third of the time they would take by container ship, and at a far lower price.

For China, which is locked in a battle with structural inflation and the erosion of the "China price" advantage of low-cost labour, the line should ensure that Chongqing's manufacturing base remains competitive with rivals in Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Chongqing, now the largest municipality in the world, has been marked out by the government as the city destined to spearhead China's economic ambitions over the next decade. Central government aspirations now focused on the western city include reversing the migration of workers to coastal China by establishing manufacturing centres inland.

Hewlett-Packard is among the foreign technology groups that have opened vast factories in Chongqing. The US company is understood to have made its investment conditional on the construction of a cargo runway near the factory. A new runway was duly built in record time.
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
PC vendors may be finally bowing to pressure to build more flexibility into the supply chain amid reports that Acer is to start shipping PCs by train. Forty carriers are already en route to Europe.

Disties have been calling for alternative transportation techniques following the growing mountain of notebooks in the region caused by the consumer slowdown and compounded by container loads already in transit via ship.

The problems faced by Acer were more severe than those of its rivals – and dealt with more publicly – but the firm is piloting a new method: shipping computers 11,000 km (6,835 miles) by rail via Chongqing in China, through Kazahkstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland and into Germany.

This takes around 18 to 20 days, undercutting sea freight by roughly one week to ten days, and though it costs more as fewer containers can be loaded up, is still cheaper than shipping by air.

PC vendors have long talked of sending kit by rail – Compaq and Acer have considered this strategy, but sources reckon that concerns over the "infrastructure and security" put pay to those discussions.

Taiwanese giant Acer recently lost its top three position in the global PC market and its inventory management – channel stuffing – policies came under close scrutiny from market watchers and frustrated distributors.

In the pilot phase, Acer will send one train per week, but if all goes according to plan the rate could rise to one per day and efforts will be made to cut transportation times to 13 days.

However, due to the climatic changes en route – temperature and humidity – Acer is assessing the impact on its hardware.
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
Siberia Container Line Speeds Flow of Car Parts to Europe: Freight Markets
By Chris Jasper and Steve Rothwell - Aug 12, 2011 9:53 PM ET

The railway station of Moscov. The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest railway in the world. Photographer: Frederic Hermann/Wostok Press/MAXPPP/Newscom
Russia’s biggest privately owned train company is tapping the world’s longest rail network to move high-value auto parts and electronics fromEast Asia to Europe, slashing 30 days from ship-borne delivery times.
Globaltrans Investment Plc (GLTR), part of Moscow-based transport group N-Trans and listed in London since 2008, is running four container trains a day from Vostochny port on the Sea of Japan to move goods for Japanese, Chinese and Korean customers includingHyundai Motor Co. (005380), South Korea’s largest carmaker.
N-Trans, which runs the VSC container terminal in Vostochny through its Global Ports Investments Plc unit, aims to steal time-sensitive, high-value shipments away from maritime routes using the 6,000-mile trans-Siberian railway. Journey times of about 11 days compare with a month for sea transfers from Korea and Japan to Hamburg and as many as 40 days to St. Petersburg, where congested infrastructure can stretch times further.
“The volumes you can carry by train are obviously much lower than on the smallest container ships, and one of the drivers for the trans-Siberian venture is as a solution to the congestion inSt. Petersburg and the Russian ports,” said Marc Pauchet, an analyst at Maritime Strategies International Ltd.
Fledgling Service
Globaltrans rose 7.7 percent, the most in six weeks, in London today and was priced 3.3 percent higher at $14.15 as of 11:30 a.m. local time. The stock has advanced 7.2 percent since first trading in the U.K. on May 1, 2008, valuing the company at $2.17 billion even after a 14 percent slump on Aug. 8 as global markets fell on concern about the euro and U.S. debt ratings. The business almost doubled profit before minority interests to $226 million last year on sales of $1.38 billion.
Globaltrans’s seven time-zone trans-Siberian service remains a fledgling one, utilizing just 450 box wagons, compared with the company’s 30,000 gondola cars used for bulk transport and 21,000 oil tanks.
Customers include Hyundai, for which the company ships parts to a Russian factory that opened last September and is increasing output of the Accent model to 200,000 cars a year.
“It will provide a good service for certain kinds of cargo, but in terms of the volumes it’s just not there yet,” said Fred Doll, managing director of the Forrest Row, England- based Doll Shipping Consultancy and a former director at Clarkson Plc, the world’s biggest shipbroker.
Foodstuffs, Steel
Still, growth rates for container volumes at Russia’s ports suggest potential for a step change, according to Nikita Mishin, the joint owner and co-founder of N-Trans, who said in an interview that the box market is booming and the trans-Siberian route underutilized.
Russia last year had a throughput of 4.1 million 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, as standard containers are known, according to Drewry Maritime Advisors, with volumes forecast to increase to 13.1 million by 2020. The market expanded at 3.9 times the pace of the Russian economy in the decade to 2010.
While St. Petersburg, Russia’s biggest port, ranked 62nd in the world in 2010 with 1.9 million TEUs, that equaled growth of 44 percent, according to Drewry, outstripping expansion at the world’s top 10 harbors. Among Europe’s top three, volumes grew 14 percent in Rotterdam and Hamburg and 16 percent in Antwerp.
Inward container flows to Russia are dominated by consumer goods, foodstuffs and spare parts, N-Trans says, with outbound traffic including exports from OAO Severstal, the country’s second-biggest steelmaker, which is using containers after a two-year Globaltrans campaign to win the business.
Shunting Yards
Box volumes have recovered from the recession, surpassing peak 2008 levels by the first quarter of last year. Still, Russia’s road and rail infrastructure -- the country has a limited freeway network and its 53,000-miles of track still uses shunting yards -- requires upgrading if containerization is to penetrate far beyond the ports, according to N-trans.
Volume growth is starting from a low base, Drewry figures show. Container throughout in Russia stands at about 29 TEUs per 1,000 people, compared with 132 in the U.S. and 168 in the European Union. Even at forecast growth rates the ration will remain below 100 at the end of the decade, the projections say.
Inland Site
Global Ports opened its first inland site, Yanino, in 2009, 50 miles from St. Petersburg, helping to bypass congestion in Russia’s second-biggest city which MSI’s Pauchet says can be “atrocious” as inadequate road links combine with insufficient storage space in a “vicious circle” of backed up containers.
Yanino can handle 200,000 TEUs a year and covers 51 hectares, with the same space again available for expansion.
The VSC or Vostochnaya Stevedoring Co. terminal at Vostochny port in the city of Nakhodka has direct access to the trans-Siberian railway, with 85 percent of cargo using the site moved by train. The terminal, 25 percent owned by Dubai-based DP World Ltd. (DPW), the third-largest port operator, is the biggest in Russia’s Far East, with an annual capacity of 550,000 TEUs.
One of the primary attractions of the overland route is as a mechanism for returning empty containers from Europe to East Asia, said Pauchet, who previously worked at Hyundai and DHL Global Forwarding. Because of the balance of trade, companies can’t fill all east-bound boxes, and sending them by rail may be preferable to loading ships full of non-revenue-earning cargo.
Kia Custom
Global Ports, Russia’s No. 1 container-terminal operator by throughput with a 30 percent market share in the first four months of 2011, also counts Korea’s Kia Motors Corp. among its customers, and there may be scope for further parts flows to switch to rail, Mishin said.
The ports unit competes with Moscow-listed Fesco Transport Group, known as Far East Shipping Co. and based in Vladivostok, 70 miles from Vostochny, OAO Novorossiysk Commercial Seaport or NCSP, which is based in Novorossiysk on the Black Sea and trades in London, and National Container Co. or NCC, the operator of St. Petersburg’s biggest container terminal.
Global Ports, which also handles more than one-quarter of fuel exports from Russia, raised $534 million in an initial public offering of global depositary receipts in London on June 24 and was 1.7 percent higher today for a market value of $2.39 billion. That compares with $1.66 billion for NCSP, which was down 3.7 percent after reporting seven-month cargo volumes fell 1.6 percent even as container traffic rose 51 percent.
The sale was the third in as many years by N-Trans owners Mishin, Konstantin Nikolaev and Andrey Filatov after Globaltrans and infrastructure unit OAO Mostotrest (MSTT), which floated in 2010.
Globaltrans is interested in acquiring stakes in state- owned OAO Russian Railways divisions OAO TransContainer and OAO Freight One, VTB Capital said in a note last month.
Following the unit disposals Russian Railways may consider a share sale from 2012 to raise funds for work including better port access, it said last year, when valuing itself at “several times” authorized capital of 1.5 trillion rubles ($48 billion).
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

I must watch out for those British railways bulit nearly 200 years ago!

The Poles will ne surprised about the comment about gauge in that country!

Obviously don't try the Daily Mail for accurate reporting!


The 'new Dunkirk' - British forces to use Tsars' railway to travel 3,500 miles home by train from Afghanistan
Last updated at 12:56 AM on 27th November 2011

Comments (1)

British military commanders are planning to use Russian railways, built by the Tsars 140 years ago, to bring home hundreds of millions of pounds worth of equipment from Afghanistan.
After a decade of war, they face the awesome task of shifting a colossal mass of hardware more than 3,500 miles across Europe to bases in Germany and the UK by the time British troops pull out in 2014.
The tally of goods used in the war against the Taliban since 2001 includes armoured vehicles, trucks, aircraft, helicopters, artillery, mortars, temporary buildings and medical centres.

Making tracks: British military commanders are planning to use Russian railways to bring home hundreds of millions of pounds worth of equipment from Afghanistan
To prepare for one of the biggest logistics exercises they have ever undertaken, Army, Navy and RAF chiefs have been visiting former Soviet states bordering Afghanistan to draw up a masterplan for  what has been dubbed the ‘new  Dunkirk’.
The idea being discussed with military and political figures in the Russian states envisages using the world’s most powerful cargo locomotives to pull up to 170 wagons along railway lines first used by the Tsars and later by Stalin.

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Today, the Privolzhskaya railway from Uzbekistan into Russia and the Northern Caucasus lines from Russia into Ukraine, transport heavy loads of oil, metals, cement and chemicals across wastelands, where snow-clearing trains often have to be used when winter temperatures drop as low as -30C (-22F).
The potentially dangerous train journey from the Russian states through Poland, Germany, Belgium and France would take up to 30 days and possibly even longer if the ‘great escape’ is interrupted by rebel bomb attacks, mudslides or avalanches.
The trains are likely to be protected by heavily armed soldiers from both the British and Russian armies riding ‘shotgun’.

The long route home is expected to start from a major freight terminal near the airport at Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.
The equipment, most of which is in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, will then be taken on a newly constructed 46-mile stretch of railway line to the Afghan border from where it will link with Uzbekistan’s existing rail network at Termez.
The first loco would probably be the Russian-built GT1-001 whose 8,300 kilowatt engine can operate using either electrified lines or liquefied natural gas. During recent trials it hauled 170 rail cars weighing 16,000 tons and it has a top speed of 62mph.
The Afghan rail tracks have the same gauge as Russia and Poland but it is different in Europe and so the hardware, much of it in containers, will have be moved on to different wagons when it reaches Germany.
Larger armoured vehicles would be lifted individually before the journey continues through Belgium and France to  Calais.
Once there, the military gear would either be transported by rail through the Channel Tunnel or  be offloaded to be taken by ship to the Marchwood military port in Southampton.
The Ministry of Defence, which has a £36 billion black hole in its finances, is desperate to find the cheapest way of getting its valuable military equipment back from Afghanistan over the next three years.

Big journey: The military gear may be transported by rail through the Channel Tunnel
The alternatives would be to ship the hardware back by sea or fly it home on massive transport aircraft. The maritime option would be hugely time-consuming and leave Britain’s naval capability stretched.
An airlift would mean renting  a fleet of giant transport planes – probably huge Russian Antonovs – which would cost a fortune. That is why the railways option has become favourite.
A senior Whitehall source said: ’We need to get this equipment back to our bases in Germany and the UK as efficiently and cheaply as possible. The idea is to get the best deal possible for the taxpayer. It’s a mammoth task because we have been sending equipment to Afghanistan since 2001.’
Military sources say that vehicles and equipment considered to be of no further use will be left in Afghanistan when the troops pull out. This could include damaged or worn-out vehicles and electrical generators.
The remainder will be brought back to Britain or Germany, or, if no longer required for training or operations, sold off to other countries.
Last week, the Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff Air Vice Marshal Graham Howard visited Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, for talks.  
He was accompanied by two  other officers, Captain Jonathan Holloway, a former naval attache  in Moscow, and Lt Commander  Robert Cogan, a logistics and IT  specialist.
In late August, Air Vice Marshal  Howard also visited Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Major General Jeff Mason, Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Logistical Operations), visited Tashkent, in March.
Among his meetings was one with the Uzbek Minister of Defence Mr Kabul Berdiev, who welcomed the new Defence Attache at the British Embassy, Wing Commander Steve Chaskin.
The discussions focused on Afghanistan.
The director of the Foreign Office’s department for East Europe and Central Asia, Laurie Bristow, was received at the Uzbek foreign ministry on July 1 on a two-day visit.
An MoD spokesman said last night: ‘As part of any enduring operation, we engage with our international partners on a range of issues which include logistics and finding the most appropriate way of moving material and equipment.
‘We value the international dialogue and relationship. We will not be going into detail on these conversations.’
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
There is in fact a broad gauge line (1520 mm) entering from Ukraine to Poland, running via Chelm and reaching the region of Katowice. It was built during Soviet times to improve the transport of Polish coal and other products from the Upper Silesian industrial basin to the USSR. I don’t know if there is still much traffic there, but the line already exists and so the British Army my in fact use the same gauge over more than half of the Polish territory. But if a 170 wagon-loads train may be suitable over this line?

Samuel Rachdi
Im oberen Gern 52
CH-8409  Winterthur
Schweiz / Switzerland / Suisse
  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Asia has many railways, but the Trans Siberian is the only line which links eastern Asia to western Russia without a change of gauge.

Although its potential to attract freight from ships has been recognised since the end of the Soviet era, the Trans Siberian Railway (known as the Transsib) carries only a tiny proportion of all cargo from eastern Asia to Europe.

This is now likely to change as Russian Railways (RZD) implements its plan to enhance the Transsib to create a “Landbridge” and attract freight from ships.

The multi-faceted plan includes infrastructure improvements, new lines, traction and rolling stock, port improvements and improvements to customs processes. It all sounds very interesting, so The Rail Engineer was sent to Siberia to learn more.

The world’s longest railway

The 5,772 mile long Transsib, running from Moscow to Vladivostok, is the world’s longest railway.

Its construction in just 13 years, from 1891 to 1904, was a remarkable achievement which included constructing bridges across many substantial rivers and the crossing of extensive mountain ranges, all in one of the coldest and most remote environments on earth.

There was no economic rationale for the railway at the time. It was built for political reasons to hold together a vast nation and protect its eastern borders. Indeed, when opened in 1904, it was soon used to move troops for the Russo-Japanese war.

Russia lost, one reason being the lack of capacity of the original single line railway. Since then the line has been progressively doubled and electrified. Electrification of the line commenced at 3,000V DC in the 1930s, and from the 1960s at 25kV AC with the final section completed in 2002.

As a result, 24% is still electrified at 3,000V DC and there are three locations where the voltage changes.

The 2,687 mile Baikal Amur Mainline (BAM) railway branches off the Transsib to the north terminating at the Pacific port of Sovetskaya Gavan. This line was started in the 1940s but was only fully completed in 1991.

It was built as a strategic alternative to the Transsib which runs close to the border with China. It is a largely single-track railway with only the 913 mile western section electrified, and most of its route is built over permafrost.

Other significant branches off the Transsib are the Trans-Mongolian and Trans-Manchurian lines. The Trans-Mongolian crosses the Gobi Desert to the Chinese border where there is a rail link to Beijing, while the Trans-Manchurian also provides a route to China.

From 1901 to 1935 it was originally part of the Transsib with China agreeing to a route through Manchuria which reduced the distance to Vladivostok by 700 miles.

The Russian Transsib route, avoiding Manchuria, opened in 1916. Japan invaded Manchuria in 1935 and promptly changed the gauge to standard.

At the Chinese border both routes still change gauge from Russian 1520mm to 1435mm standard gauge.

Some say that Russia chose its broad gauge for defensive reasons. Indeed the break of gauge caused Hitler’s troops significant logistical problems. Today, however, it is a significant barrier to cross-border freight transit.

Ermak Locomotive. Photo: David Shirres
Transsib freight today

Transsib carries frequent 71-wagon, 6,000 tonne freight trains which are over a kilometre long. It is a crucial transport link which handles 50% of Russia’s imports and exports.

Its importance is highlighted by the fact that the Trans Siberian Highway was only fully paved in 2010. Domestic freight is primarily oil, coal and timber.

In 2010 the Transsib carried 748,544 TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units) of container traffic with domestic, import, export and transit traffic being respectively 66.3%, 16.8%, 14.4% and 2.4%.

Although still a low percentage, transit traffic is 78% greater than it was in 2009 as a result of RZD’s initiatives to promote the Transsib as a Landbridge.

With a freight transit time of typically 15 days between eastern Asia and Europe, about half that by ship, RZD believe that Transsib freight is an attractive option.

As an example, since 2008 Globaltrans has been running four container trains a day from the port of Vostochny on the Sea of Japan with goods from Japan, China and Korean.

TransContainer, a subsidiary of RZD, operate further regular services between China and Europe over the Transsib.

Transsib vs. Container Ships

The 21,000 TEU transit traffic on the Transsib compares with 13.5 million TEU on ships from eastern Asia to Europe. The comparison table explains why Transsib container transport costs are higher than by ship.

The Transsib Landbridge is therefore best suited for time sensitive cargos, particularly since ocean carriers introduced extra-slow steaming to reduce fuel costs.

As an example, Transcontainer’s 2010 Annual report shows that 17% of RZD’s transit cargo is auto parts for which a reduction in transit time would reduce inventory costs.

Transsib in Seven Days

In 2009 RZD adopted the “Transsib in Seven Days” project as part of their strategic plan. This will require £1 billion to be spent on track improvements by 2015, and a further £900 million invested in the BAM and Transsib to:

•reduce choke points in the eastern part of the Trans-Siberian to e.g. additional and longer loops,
•develop railway freight hubs on the border with Mongolia, China and North Korea to increase throughput where there is a change of gauge,
•upgrade rail infrastructure at ports of Nakhodka and Vostochny, close to Vladivostok,
•modernise and upgrade container terminals to international standards,
•reconstruct the Russian section of the Trans-Manchurian railway with a new border terminal at Zabaikalsk for the change of gauge with an annual capacity of 500,000 TEU.
In addition, port capacity is being enlarged. A recently completed project increased Vladivostok’s capacity to 600,000 TEU per year.

Currently, Transsib trains travel 700 miles a day at 50 mph, taking 9 days from Vladivostok to Russia’s border with Belarus. The trains require an inspection every 450 miles, 24 locomotive crew changes and 4 locomotive changes.

One planned operational improvement is changing wagon examination methodology so that the complete train receives a thorough examination at a wagon depot prior to departure, allowing train inspections to be done every 1750 miles.

This technique was used on a test train in 2009 which travelled from Vladivostok to Moscow in just less 7 days, covering 845 miles per day.

Freight trains are generally restricted to 50 mph on the heavily trafficked Transsib.

Another objective of the 7 day Transsib project is to increase daily travel distances to 940 miles by 2014 through improved operations, track renewals and better rolling stock permitting higher speeds to 62.5 mph.

Until recently, customs clearance, even for transit cargos, could take up to 5 days. RZD has developed new IT systems to facilitate customs inspections and give their customers real time consignment tracking.

Electronic goods declarations, together with customs agreements with trading partners, have reduced clearance times to a matter of hours.

Photo: Russian Railways.
The Ermak

Between 2008 and 2015, RZD plan to purchase 7,500 new locos and modernise a further 4,000.

For Transsib and BAM in 2010/11, this includes purchasing eleven T2M7A diesels, re-engining 56 diesels and the construction of 103 Ermak 3ES5K freight locomotives by Russian train-maker Transmashholding, Russia’s largest train builder employing 57,000 and with a turnover of £1.5 billion, which entered into a co-operation agreement with Alstom in 2009.

The Ermak is a 12,300 hp locomotive made up of 3 x 25kv Bo Bo AC locomotives that operate as a single unit with no pantograph on the middle unit.

It has regenerative braking, can operate in multiple with a locomotive at the rear of the train and has microprocessor traction drive that takes account of gradient profile to minimise shock load on couplers. Cab heating provides a constant temperature of 16o C even in Siberian winter conditions.

New Lines

The construction of new rail lines creates further opportunities for Transsib freight transits. In 2008, work started to reconstruct a 40 mile rail line from Hasan, near Vladivostok, to the North Korean port of Rajin where a new container terminal is being built.

Rajin is a North Korean Economic Special Zone and is leased to China, which otherwise has no other access to the Sea of Japan. Freight trains are expected to start running on this new line at the end of 2011.

In the West, Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine and Russia have agreed to undertake a feasibility study to build a 350 mile broad gauge line from Košice in Slovakia to a new international container terminal in Vienna.

This line is expected to be completed by 2016 at a cost of €4.7 billion and will eliminate the need for transhipment at the Russian border due to the change of gauge.

In 2009, a 195 mile line between Bam in Iran and Zahedan in Pakistan was opened to provide a rail link from Europe to India.

In 2013, this will be joined to a rail link between the Persian Gulf and the Baltic Sea with the completion of a 235 mile rail line between Astara and Qazvin on west side of Caspian Sea.

The new line is the result of an agreement between Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia, and will be connected to the Transsib.

A rail project still under consideration is extending the BAM railway to Sakhalin Island with a tunnel to Japan. Even more ambitious is the idea for a rail connection to the United States through a Bering Strait tunnel.

New rail links in Russia and Alaska could offer the intriguing possibility of a future train journey from London to New York via the Transsib.

Transsib’s bright future

It is always good to see more freight carried by rail, but few in the UK would consider rail capable of capturing traffic from ocean going ships. RZD expect to do just this.

Although almost all traffic between eastern Asia and Europe is currently carried by ship, RZD’s strategy is to make the Transsib Landbridge increasingly attractive for time sensitive cargos.

Implementation of this strategy will require significant investment in infrastructure, traction and rolling stock, so it will be interesting to see if this presents any opportunities for European and UK suppliers.

This article was written following press trip to Vladivostok and Irkutsk organised by Russian Railways (RZD) whose assistance in the preparation of this article is greatly appreciated
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
(CNN) -- Call it the ultimate in military logistics. As land routes from Pakistan into Afghanistan are cut, sabotaged or otherwise interrupted, the U.S. military has developed alternative railroad routes that make the Orient Express look like a branch line.
They are called -- rather prosaically -- the Northern Distribution Network, or NDN. The main route begins at the port of Riga in Latvia, from where freight trains roll across Russia, and continues along the edge of the Caspian Sea. It crosses the deserts of Kazakhstan and into Uzbekistan. About 10 days after beginning their odyssey, the containers cross into Afghanistan, carrying everything from computers and socks to toilet paper and bottled water.
Other routes begin at the port of Ponti in Georgia on the Black Sea and at Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.
The Russians first offered transit for nonlethal equipment bound for Afghanistan in 2008. According to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, it took nearly a year for the U.S. and NATO to negotiate transit rights with central Asian governments such as Uzbekistan, although two-thirds of jet aviation fuel bound for Afghanistan was already transiting Uzbekistan.
Mistaken air attack under investigation No more 'business as usual' with U.S.
The first shipment of supplies crossed Russia in May 2009; just in time, because the "surge" meant that even more U.S. troops needed resupplying, and transit routes through Pakistan were about to become a pawn in the deteriorating relationship between the two countries.
Use of the routes has since grown rapidly; the NDN now carries 40% of the supplies U.S. forces in Afghanistan need (while Pakistani routes see 30%, according to the Department of Defense). It doesn't carry ammunition or weapons, which are flown in to airbases such as Bagram and Kandahar. But airlifting cannot be much expanded; the U.S. Military Airlift Command is already stretched, and air transport is much more expensive (about $14,000 per ton of freight, according to NATO estimates) than overland transport. NATO estimates the cost of moving supplies overland is one-tenth that of airborne freight.
The NDN poses challenges of its own. Ships have to use Riga because other ports in the Baltic are not reliably ice-free in winter. There are bottlenecks, especially at the Afghan border terminus at Hairatan. And there have been allegations of "improper payments" made for fuel in Uzbekistan to keep the trains running and for preferential treatment to ensure that supplies get across the border as quickly as possible. Rules change frequently, according to one contractor involved in getting freight into Afghanistan. And one diplomatic cable about negotiations to use Uzbek territory in 2008 noted that "corruption remains endemic throughout all levels of the economy."
But with U.S. lobbying, funds from the Asian Development Bank enabled Uzbek engineers to extend the line last year to the Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif. As one Uzbek official puts it: "Afghanistan is the only country in the world without railways; that's why it's not developed."
(A historical aside: The Mazar route is the first working railway line in Afghanistan since 1929, when there was a line all of four miles long out of Kabul. Only recently, NATO helped move one of the historical locomotives from that line to the National Museum in Kabul.)
The NDN may seem a daunting and expensive challenge, but as U.S. relations with Pakistan have frayed, the northern option has proved good insurance. Land convoys through Pakistan from the port of Karachi travel nearly 1,000 miles to reach Afghanistan, with the last part of the journey often being a painfully slow trek through the Khyber Pass. There is the added risk of ambush -- many tankers and trucks have been attacked and destroyed in the last two years. In one incident alone in December 2008, the Pakistani Taliban set ablaze 100 trucks at a rest stop near Peshawar.
The Pakistan routes are also vulnerable to the vagaries of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. For 10 days last year, Pakistan closed the overland routes (via Tulkarm on the Khyber Pass and Chaman south of Kandahar) into Afghanistan in retaliation for U.S. air attacks that mistakenly killed Pakistani soldiers.
The northern routes are safer and more reliable, but not entirely immune to disruption. Relations between the U.S. and Russia are sometimes tense (over such issues as the ballistic missile defense shield), and central Asian states have taken offense at U.S. complaints about their human rights record. Even so, Russia gains advantages from allowing its territory to be used; it doesn't want Afghanistan sliding into chaos. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said at the U.S./Russia summit 2009: "We value the efforts that are being made by the United States together with the other countries in order to prevent the terrorist threat that was emanating and still coming from the Afghan soil."
The NDN benefits plenty of other parties. For Uzbekistan, it helps defray the heavy cost of investment in its railway network, largely with loans from Asian banks, and increases demand for local goods. For Riga and other ports, it provides income at a time when economic growth is weak. And most of all, Afghanistan stands to benefit from the "transformational potential" (in the words of one U.S. diplomat) of a rail network that could make it an Asian transport hub.
As the U.S. drawdown gathers pace next winter, the NDN may acquire another role: helping to remove the vast amounts of equipment invested in the decade-long mission in Afghanistan.
The irony is that tracks now carrying supplies to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan were first built to resupply Soviet forces when they occupied the country in the 1980s.
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

slamabad-Tehran-Istanbul container train

Experts for making Gul Train lucrative cargo service

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Turkish transport experts have been tasked to prepare feasibility report for involvement of private sector in the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul container train service (the Gul Train) to make the train a lucrative cargo service not only between Pakistan and Turkey but also beyond, to Europe.

The team with the involvement of Ministry of Railways has held a meeting with the Karachi Stock Exchange and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce officials and would be visiting Pakistan to further deliberate and finalise the feasibility report.

This was informed during a briefing held at Aiwan-e-Sadr Wednesday on the issues relating to Pakistan Railways, the restructuring and revitalisation plan and the progress made in the Gul Train.

The meeting chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari was attended by Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh, Law Minister Maula Baksh Chandio, Privatisation Minister Ghous Bux Khan Maher, Railways Minister Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Secretary General M Salman Faruqui and senior officials of the concerned departments besides Arif Habib Group of Companies Chairman Arif Habib. Pakistan People’s Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was also present during the meeting.

Minister for Railways Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour briefed the meeting about the situation of Pakistan Railways and the strategies being pursued to cope up with the challenges.

He said that the shortage of the locomotives was among the main issues being faced by the Pakistan Railways. The available locomotives, he said, were prone to frequent failures. He said that a crisis management programme has been put in place whereby the task force has been constituted to explore possibility of repairing locomotives in collaboration with the private sector as well as hiring and leasing from the foreign countries.

He said that Pakistan Railways was endeavouring to attract private investment to shore up its declining resources. Establishment of dry ports and operation of passenger train in collaboration with the private sector, outsourcing of ticketing and parcelling, updating financial and cost accounting system, introducing track access policy to encourage private sector to run own trains and restructuring of railways were a few quotes to corporatise railways culture.

He suggested the need for a national transport policy laying down the role of railways and road to rationalise the allocation of funds. He also suggested that the government might consider financially bailing out the railways so as to enable its revitalisation.

The president while emphasising upon the need for railways to re-orient itself said that the successful strategies pursued by the neighbouring countries can be emulated to revitalise this important mode of transportation.

He said that in view of the importance of railways in the economic development, social integration and as a strategic asset, all efforts must be undertaken to support this sector and improve its image among the masses.

The president said that revitalisation of Pakistan Railways was also essential to materialise the vision of enhancing inter and intra connectivity of the region, which was the key to socio-economic development of the country and the region.

The president also inquired about the operations of Business Express Train between Lahore and Karachi, on the basis of public-private partnership, and the Shalimar Express. He emphasised upon the need to induct private sector in all railways related business like establishment of dry ports, running of freight trains, commercialisation of railways assets and others.

He also advised the government to consider various options to bail out railways from its financial crunch.

  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

InterRail intensifies cooperation with China Railway International Multimodal Transport
02. April 2012

InterRail Trans Siberian Express Ltd, a subsidiary of Switzerland-based InterRail Holding AG, has signed an agreement with China Railway International Multimodal Transport (CRIMT) for the co-ordination of its international rail freight transportation needs in Uzbekistan. CRIMT is a subsidiary of China Railway Container Transport Corp and is responsible for its international containerized transportation activities. The logistics hub for this business will be Chukursay station in Tashkent. According to the agreement the scope of the cooperation is expected to soon be extended to include neighbouring countries Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. (ben)



  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Russia to Be Integrated into Eurasian Transport System

10.04.2012 (13:30)

A powerful railway network may be created on the Russian territory. It will make cargo transportation from Asia to Europe faster and more profitable.

The North-Western region of Russia with its ports and border crossings, into development of which significant funds will be invested, may play the most important role in it, said participants of the Northern Dimension forum, held in St Petersburg.

In the words of Pavel Burtsev, Deputy Head of the October Railway (an affiliate of RZD), cited in the “Russian Business Newspaper”, Russia’s joining the Eurasian transport system will require development of railway network, ports, and logistic complexes, and a special stake will be placed on the North-Western region, via which passenger and cargo transportation to European states is carried out. Transport sector authorities have a lot of plans, but large investments and modernization of the regional transport sector, especially railway transportation and logistic segments, are needed to carry them out.

Eight border crossings and ports providing cargo transportation to ports of Finland and Baltic States, create a tense cargo flow between the Russian North-West and Europe, and it is planned to make use of it and unite all existing lines into a single network covering the entire country. To carry out such a scaled project, it is necessary to expand the capacity of ports and border crossings in the region to cope with the future increase in the cargo flow, the newspaper notes.

“According to forecasts, the development of cargo turnover between Russia and Baltic states is the most prospective,” said Mr Burtsev. “We have succeeded in organizing dynamic traffic with Latvia, which grew by almost 20% in the recent years. It is the export flow to the Baltic ports that has the best growth rates, and the commercial sea port of Ust-Luga in the Leningrad Region must play the key role in its development.”

Over RUR 45 billion is planned to be invested into extension of the Ust-Luga port capacity. Of that, RUR 15 billion were allocated last year. Second railway tracks from Gatchina to the port have been constructed already. Most significant investments will be needed to develop port railway stations, particularly, a powerful railway yard is to be built near Ust-Luga. Another priority will be development of railway accesses to Sosnovo and Kamennogorsk, with a railway connection with the border and the sea port of Primorsk.

Translated by

  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Prime Ministers of Ukraine and Lithuania Discussed the Prospect of the "Viking" Project Expansion

12.04.2012 (16:29)

Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov has informed his Lithuanian counterpart Andrius Kubilius on the possibility of expanding the route "Viking" to Central Asia countries. This was discussed during a bilateral meeting in Vilnius today.

Mykola Azarov, in particular, noted that during his official visit to Azerbaijan the prospects for expanding the project "Viking" to Azerbaijan and involvement of the Turkmenistan and Turkey to this rote, which will facilitate movement of goods from Central Asia to Europe, were discussed.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius welcomed this decision and added that it has a good prospect.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
KAZAKHSTAN is cutting its grain export program because there aren't enough rail wagons to move the national crop.

Wire reports suggest Kazakhstan is now projecting grain exports in the vicinity of 11-12 million tonnes for 2011-12, down from 13m tonnes originally forecast.


The grain is usually exported through Russia's or Ukraine's Black Sea ports, or to Iran across the Caspian sea.


Last year, the Kazakh government said the national crop reached a record 26.9 million tonnes.


However, this year early estimates point to a big fall in production to under 15 million tonnes, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Kallas seeks to boost Eurasia rail transport connections

Brussels, 1 June 2012 - European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, participated in the 7th rail business forum "Strategic Partnership 1520" in Sochi, Russia. Vice-President Kallas seized this opportunity to lead fruitful discussions on the way forward to boost East-West rail traffic towards Russia and China and to spur modal shift on these routes.

"Rail freight traffic between the EU and its Eastern neighbours is expected to soar by over 30% between 2007 and 2020. More and better connections are needed and so is a strong cooperation with Russia, the third most important trading partner of the EU. Russia might also become a major transit country between the EU and China in the wake of the development of the Eurasian landbridge. Today's discussions were a first step forward, but we still need to solve important issues."

The conference triggered a comprehensive debate over the future shape of railway transport across whole Eurasia. The main topics included regulatory and interoperability issues, the development of freight traffic on the Trans-Siberian route, the transportation charges on goods in transit and the coordination of infrastructure projects aimed at removing bottlenecks and facilitating seamless transport. In this view, Vice-President Kallas emphasized the need to enhance both the bilateral EU-Russia transport dialogue and the cooperation within international railway organisations. He also underlined the contribution the EU rail industry might play in solving existing interoperability barriers.

Participants included high-level government and railway representatives from Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, European and South-East Asian countries, stakeholders and major Russian and European transport companies.

On the margins of the event Vice-President Kallas met for the first time the newly appointed Transport Minister of the Russian Federation Maxim Sokolov, and exchanged views on the development of the EU-Russia cooperation across all transport modes. In particular, Vice-President Kallas reminded Mr Sokolov of the importance for Russia to respect its formal commitment on the phasing-out of Siberian overflight royalties, which had been a precondition for the EU's green light for Russia's WTO accession.

Background info

The importance of the external dimension of the EU transport policy was underlined in the 2011 White Paper on Transport "Roadmap to a single European transport area-Towards a competitive and resource-efficient transport system". Since transport is fundamentally international, the very success of the EU transport policy is linked to challenges related to the development of transport beyond the EU borders, and in particular with its neighbours. Fostering environmentally friendly transport solutions such as rail, delivering improved infrastructure connections and closer market integration with our neighbours are therefore priorities of the EU transport policy.

For more information


2011 White Paper on Transport:

Official website of the conference:

EU-Russia transport dialogue:

Commission study: Situation and Perspectives of the Rail Market – 2010 (pdf)


  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

A new wide-gauge railway line to Vienna could be a key part of Russian plans to build a Eurasian “land bridge” between China and Europe.

The multibillion-dollar scheme, which would take more than a decade to complete if it gets off the drawing board, would be the most westerly extension of the “Russian” 1,520-gauge railway lines.

Russian Railways officials have enlisted European Union support for their designs to incorporate the Trans-Siberian Railroad into a corridor for freight between the Far East and Europe.

A European Commission delegation headed by Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas gave its backing to the strategy at Russian Railways’ annual conference in Sochi last week.

The proposal, dubbed the Eurasian Land Bridge, is intended to provide a rail-based alternative to traditional sea and air freight routes between far eastern producers and European markets.  

Moving cargo by rail costs more and entails a sacrifice of volume in comparison with sea transportation.

But Russian Railways president Vladimir Yakunin said he believed the route would be able to compete on speed.

“They are building ships that can carry 10,000 containers at a time. We can never compete with that,” Yakunin told reporters in Sochi on Friday. “But while we can never increase capacity like that, they can never reduce journey times.”

He said that the option of sending goods by rail would appeal to producers keen to get their goods to market in as little as 14 days, compared with the 40-day sea journey.

He also expressed skepticism about the sustainability of the sea option because deliveries of so many containers at a time would place great strain on the European transportation system.

Some links already exist, including a freight service between the Chinese city of Chongqing and Antwerp in the Netherlands.

But Kallas said in a speech to the conference that there is still a long way to go before the route is commercially viable.

“On tariffs, for example, several countries on the Europe-Asia route, including Russia, apply discriminatory fees to international rail freight that leaves, enters or transits the country. We expect these fees to be phased out as part of Russia’s WTO accession,” he said in a speech to delegates.

Yakunin called on Europe to “cut the red tape that still exists between countries,” while Russia ought to concentrate on becoming a reliable transit route, he said.

Kallas said he expects rail freight between Europe and its Eastern neighbors to grow 30 percent between 2007 and 2020.

Another hindrance is the inconvenient transition between the 1,520-millimeter gauge lines used in the former Soviet Union and the narrow 1,485-millimeter “standard” gauge used in Europe and China.

One solution being pushed by Russian Railways is extending the 1,520-gauge line all the way to a new depot near Vienna, giving direct access to trans-European rail and road networks as well as the Danube River system.

The project, which has yet to attract funding or persuade the governments involved to formally sign up, will take at least 13 years to complete.

“Trains are unlikely to start running before 2025,” said Anton Ryshkov, deputy chief of Russian Railways’ department for economic conjunction and strategic development.

A feasibility study drawn up in 2011 lists three possible financing schemes: public-private partnerships, credit from major lenders and investment banks, and state funding, Ryshkov said.

However, the plan has drawn flak from Poland, where it has been compared to the Nord Stream gas pipeline as an effort to bypass or isolate the Central European country.

Poland says that its own 1,520-gauge line, built in the 1970s to supply iron ore from Ukraine to a steel mill near Katowice, would require only an upgrade and a depot.

It argues that those improvements could be done at a fraction of the cost of building the new railway to Vienna and would give similar access to Central Europe’s rail and road networks.

In another development at the conference, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, which have been united in a customs union since 2010, reached an agreement on the creation of a new logistics company.

Yakunin told reporters that Kazakhstan and Belarus would pay for their stake in the common firm with “funds or assets,” Interfax reported.

Russian Railways plans to borrow 60 billion to 80 billion rubles ($1.9 billion to $2.5 billion) a year over the next three years, partly through issuing eurobonds, in a bid to fund major investment projects.




Read more:
The Moscow Times
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Yakunin urges close cooperation to realise Eurasia freight dreams

Friday, June 01, 2012

IRJ at 1520 rail business forum: MR VLADIMIR Yakunin, president of Russian Railways (RZD), has emphasised the continuing need to build and foster relations with Russia's neighbours in Europe and Asia to pave the way for improved freight transport through Russia.

Speaking at the 1520 rail business forum in Sochi, Yakunin said that continuous dialogue is crucial to overcome cultural and language difficulties and solve the problems of interoperability.

"Our goal is to build cooperation with partners in Europe, Asia-Pacific and CIS countries and contribute to the economic development of the region," Yakunin says. "We want to ensure transport across the region by offering consistent freight flows. To do this we need to find common integration with various European organisations to develop a harmonious transport policy."

Yakunin praised RZD's relationship with German Rail (DB) as well as operators in the Baltic States, eastern Europe, and CIS countries, but urged governments to continue to support the railway business.

This view was echoed by DB chairman Mr Rüdiger Grube, who called for a levelling of the regulatory playing field between different modes to encourage further growth of railfreight flows.

"I would like to ask everybody, but particularly the politicians, to give us the right support like you already provide to air and sea freight," Grube said. "At the moment there is only one set of recommendations for these sectors. Competition is important and decisive for me but so is regulation. Don't over-regulate the market because then you will kill the business."

At present 95% of goods from China and the other Asian manufacturing hubs are transported by sea to Europe. But as European Commission vice-president Mr Siim Kallas pointed out, the increasing movement west of China's industry could provide substantial opportunities for rail, particularly on the Trans-Siberian and Kazakhstan corridors.

Grube says that while discussion of ideas to take advantage of this are important, execution is what really matters. He says the example set by BMW which has transported goods to China in 16 days, and Hewlett Packard from Shanghai in 23 days using the railway, cutting journey times in half in comparison with sea freight, shows the potential and it is now up to others to follow their lead.

"If you cut the transport time by 50% it means immediately that you are cutting the overall cost by 50%," Grube said.


  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

E-services for Greater Transparency in General Cargo

06.06.2012 (17:21)

DB Schenker Logistics wants to invest EUR 250 million in the land transport system landscape

In the future, general cargo networks in Europe will have to be more flexible in adapting to key account requirements. This is the thesis put forward by Karl Nutzinger as Member of the Board at Schenker AG responsible for land transport at DB Schenker. This flexibility, he says, is an important success factor. Key account customers are increasingly making every effort to optimize their supply chains, and demand additional services. Nutzinger announced even more investment in information technology over the next five to six years.

"This can lead to situations where the service we provide our customers goes above and beyond the actual network, with us assuming the function of lead logistics provider and controlling the capacities of other contractors," explained Nutzinger during the 3rd DVZ Symposium of the Deutsche Logistic-Zeitung in Hamburg. This development is associated with the fact that growth is coming increasingly from the emerging markets. "In the end, this will also stimulate our own markets and expect us to be capable of distributing quantities accordingly," said Nutzinger. This is illustrated for example by trains with electronic products that DB Schenker brings from China to Germany.

Increasingly, customers are also demanding transparency right across their global supply chains. "E-services" based on the internet are playing an ever increasing role in this context. "A change of generation is currently taking place here," Nutzinger continued. "The changes in general purchasing behavior are also being reflected in our industry. E-services are not only driven by the business, but have a cultural component in addition to their functional role."

Information systems are yet another success factor in this context. "In the next five to six years, we will be investing up to EUR 250 million in further standardization and improvements to our information technology, particularly for land transport," Nutzinger announced. The aim is to bring about clear reductions in the historically developed diversity of the system landscape, initially to two or three systems. 
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW


Inter-continental railway promises to be 'New Silk Road' by Bridging businesses of East, West


Legend has it that Chinese emperor Han Wu Di (156 BC-87 BC) once looked to the lands west of his vast empire and proclaimed them with people who placed "great value on the rich produce of China".


Related readings:
 Growing both ways
 Ironing out the details
 Land link key to inland growth

That regal observation soon spurred exploration of those foreign lands, leading to a network of trading routes between the East and West that came to be known as the Silk Road.

The historic route declined in the centuries that followed as maritime trade increased, but there are now renewed efforts to revive the continental link - this time through the latest addition to the Eurasian Land Bridge rail.

Connecting the major Lianyungang port in East China's Jiangsu province to distant Belgium, the railway is being promoted as a shorter, more efficient way to transport goods between China and Europe. Lianyungang lies near the center of China's eastern coastline, where the country's southern economic and manufacturing hubs have helped enrich cities in provinces like Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

The land bridge traverses more than 10,000 km through China, Central Asia and Eastern Europe before arriving at European trading hubs like Rotterdam and Antwerp in about two weeks. The route is expected to benefit more than 40 countries and regions by taking less than half the time and enjoying a similar reduction in costs compared with transporting goods by sea.

Other routes under the Eurasian Land Bridge concept include an earlier one that consists of the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Russian seaport of Vladivostok. Yet another rail link considers connecting the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen with Rotterdam, through a 15,000-km route across 17 countries and regions - via Guangdong and Yunnan provinces as well as the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in China - before entering Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey toward its western destination.

Faced with higher production costs, maturing manufacturing industries and changing economic modes in eastern China's more economically developed coastal areas, Chinese authorities are now stepping up efforts to promote the benefits of the latest working route of the land bridge for Chinese goods to reach markets in the West as they look for ways to stay competitive.

Shen Dingli, professor of international studies at Shanghai-based Fudan University and executive dean of its Institute of International Studies, says the land bridge can help break the logistical barriers and bottlenecks in China's regional logistics flow as the country's western regions stand to benefit significantly from the new link.

To that effect, Chongqing, the southwestern municipality and an increasingly important manufacturing and trading hub of inland China, is already positioning itself as the latest crucial link of this Eurasian land bridge.

The megacity, one of the largest and fastest growing cities in the world with a 32-million-strong population, has opened a route to form part of the land bridge in the north at Shaanxi's provincial capital Xi'an - the historic city that flourished as the Chinese terminus of the Silk Road centuries ago.

The new link is expected to offer an attractive alternative for trading companies in Chongqing that need to operate through southern Chinese coastal ports such as Shanghai or Guangzhou before shipping their goods through the Strait of Malacca if they choose the maritime route, which can end up being more time consuming and costly.

Logistics companies such as DB Schenker and Far East Land Bridge are already using the land route to transport containers between Chongqing and European ports like Duisburg in Germany's Ruhr industrial belt.

The Chongqing-Europe link, which takes about two weeks, is banking on the megacity's Chinese goods coming from the IT, electronics, auto, steel, chemical and other sectors that are headed for European markets. Chongqing authorities say the railway will also seal the city as an international logistics hub by connecting the Yangtze River Delta economic belt to Europe.

Xu Ming, a senior official of Chongqing municipal committee, says the land bridge will be vital to China-Europe businesses.

"The old Silk Road connected the Eastern and Western empires. It was a great trading route of utmost importance and a vital artery in international commerce and the exchange of ideas between East and West.

"This new route linking Chongqing to the West is the next big thing. It can shorten present shipping times by up to 20 days. It has received full support from various government ministries and departments to ensure smooth flow and handling of goods. In terms of safety and security, it trumps the threats that maritime shipping might face, such as piracy," Xu said at this year's Liangjiang Forum in Chongqing to discuss the development of the land bridge as part of the challenges and opportunities in western China with business leaders and officials from both sides. Xu is also the director general of the administrative committee of Chongqing's new Liangjiang development area.

"This 'New Silk Road' is better, faster and more efficient as it transports valuable goods between China and Europe. China-EU trade last year hit nearly $600 billion. Europe is China's biggest export market and we are Europe's second largest. In terms of luxury goods, China is set to become the largest market and that also has great significance for the European luxury goods market," he says.

"Chongqing is a major manufacturing hub and draws on the strengths of the Yangtze River Delta as an economic center. Its transportation links connect important cities and regions.

"As the next major trading link between China and Europe, the economic significance of its impact on helping the European debt crisis cannot be underestimated."

Zhai Qian, deputy director general of the European Department at the Ministry of Commerce, says the European market and its development is extremely important for China and that has most recently been expressed in Chinese leaders' visits to the EU.

"The next stages of the Chinese economy spelled out in the country's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) that call for sustainable development offer numerous opportunities for China-European businesses to contribute," Zhai says.

"Multi-pronged efforts are already being made to expand the exchange of goods and services between the Chinese and European markets and we will continue to encourage the development of these sectors of the new economy."

Jens Ruebbert, senior vice-president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China and managing director and chief administrative officer of Deutsche Bank (China), says the chamber is well aware of Chongqing's growth and it is "quite committed" to opening its next office in the megacity.

"There is no doubt about it. EU-China economic relations are hugely important. In 2011, the EU-China trade relationship was the second largest in the world. In 2012, it is expected to become the largest in the world," says Ruebbert, whose chamber now has more than 1,700 members split into 42 working groups with seven local chapters in China.

"The EU and China have both recently issued medium-term development strategies and these two strategies are very similar. The core of both the EU's 2020 strategy and China's 12th Five-Year Plan is the guide for green and sustainable growth based on innovative products. China aims to rebalance its economy through increasing domestic consumption and opening its economy further. This process will bring the economies of China and the EU closer.

"The EU offers great opportunities for China and for increasing cooperation. In a time of continued debt crisis in Europe, China has indeed opportunities to increase its investment in Europe. The European chamber is a proponent of open markets and welcomes and encourages such investment."

The Chinese government's go-west policy to spur investment inland also bodes well for EU companies that are making their presence felt in Chongqing, Ruebbert says.

"It absolutely creates opportunities for EU companies. This Eurasian railway is really very efficient. We have heard it takes less than about 16 days, it is less than half the shipping speeds with convenient customs passing and integrated operating platforms. It will also serve to further enhance the economic and trade ties between China and Europe, and to attract investment to Chongqing. It shows the logistics development of Chongqing and offers opportunities for further European cooperation. The railway is another example of the strong competitive advantages of Chongqing and contributes to efficiency of infrastructure."

Fudan University's Shen points out that the Chongqing connection in the Eurasian Land Bridge can help transfer foreign investment to western China, significantly increasing the export capacity of the megacity.

"In recent years, Chongqing has been promoting the production capacity of notebook computers to reach 1 million units annually, which is the sum of six coastal provinces. This strategy itself is a major boost to the economic boom of Chongqing and the central regions," Shen says.

Mu Huaping, director of Chongqing's Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology and head of the Municipal Logistics Office, says when the authorities discussed the latest rail link two years ago, they were still not confident of the project. But it has taken just that time for them to be convinced of the numerous benefits of the connection and the role it will play in cross-border trade.

"Chongqing's auto and electronics products are seeing strong growth. Of these, the low-end variety heads to Shenzhen before being transported by ship to Western markets, while more high-end products are delivered by air. We started exploring the land bridge as an alternative to these routes," Mu says.

But he says there are many issues that still need to be resolved before the bridge can be operated optimally. These include different track gauges between countries like Russia along the route, the limited storage capacity of train containers when compared to those used on ships, time-consuming land border checks and extreme temperature and environmental conditions as the trains wind through Central Asia and Eastern Europe, all of which make the cost of using the land bridge significantly higher than maritime shipping.

"Stakeholders on both sides in the West and China as well as those along the route need to work together to iron out these issues to get the land bridge rolling. We are now providing the necessary platforms for these to happen," Mu says.

To that effect, a logistics company is also being set up to serve as a platform for the rail link co-funded by the Chinese, Kazakhstan, Russian and German railway authorities.

"Lowering the cost will be the major factor in making this land bridge more competitive, especially when many Chinese exports headed to the West are extremely sensitive to price differences. These are naturally the top concerns for businesses that choose the land bridge over other forms of shipping."

Similarly, He Mingke, vice-president of the China Society of Logistics, points out that the land bridge traverses six different countries, all with political, economic and environmental conditions that could pose major obstacles to the smooth running of the railway.

"The success of the land bridge will ultimately depend on factors including a concerted political will and coordination of technology and operational systems for businesses to become confident enough to use it."

But Claudio Facchin, senior vice-president of Swedish-Swiss power and automation technology giant ABB Group and president of its North Asia Region, says European companies such as his are already taking advantage of Chongqing's efforts to play a central role in China-EU trade via new channels such as the land bridge.

"We see the particular importance of being here in the western region, particularly in Chongqing. It has been growing at almost double the speed of the country, which we all know is the largest growing market."

Facchin's confidence in the growth of the region and the logistics advantages of the megacity follow those by various industry leaders including IT giants Acer and Hewlett-Packard.

Automakers have also been quick to move, with Ford China investing in at least three factories inland. Germany's largest steelmaker ThyssenKrupp has also said it was planning an assembly shop, painting workshop and quality-control laboratory in the region to help provide parts for major automakers.

Similar to the aims of the new land bridge, all are placing high bets on the Chinese economic engine to sustain development in both East and West.

Also at the Liangjiang forum, Jochum Haakma, chairman of the Netherlands Council for Trade Promotion, cited a Chinese saying of an auspicious purple cloud being blown from the east, to allude to the help that the Chinese economy will give to its beleaguered counterpart in the West.

"We have seen from all this that China is in relatively very good shape while the European Union is anything but. So whenever this purple cloud appears again in the East, in China, you should send it straight to the West to help us."

  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Uniting Eurasia says railways have to collaborate and harmonise
08. June 2012

To attract new cargo and develop competitive advantages over other modes of transport, the railways have to cooperate successfully and harmonise the different systems in the EU member states and the countries in the CIS and Asia. That is the conclusion reached at the strategic dialogue "Uniting Eurasia," which was held during the VII International Rail Business Forum 1520 Strategic Partnership in Sochi. "The EU’s transport policy involves increasing freight turnover on the railways. Up to 50% of the freight delivered between 300-1,000 km in 2050 should be carried by trains, not least to reduce the harmful impact on the environment," said Mikael Aro, chairman of the management team at the VR Group Ltd (Finnish Railways). At the same time, the annual volume of trade between Europe and Asia is estimated at USD 600 billion, but less than 1% of this trade is shipped by rail. (ben)

  wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

RZD and European Commission Sign Joint Declaration of Enhancing Transport Links between Europe and Asia

09.06.2012 (03:38)

Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways JSC (RZD), and Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice-President responsible for transport and mobility, have signed a joint declaration of enhancing transport links between Europe and Asia, reports RZD’s Corporate Communications Department.

“According to the document, experts will continue to exchange information about opportunities to enhance railway communication in the Eurasian space. Particularly, among sectors for a dialogue and cooperation, there are joining of Trans-European transport networks and corridors of OSZhD (Organization for the Collaboration between Railways); simplification of administrative procedures at border crossings; removal of “bottle-necks” on the railway network; enhancement of railway systems’ interoperability; provision of an access to the railway transportation market and harmonization of liability and contractual norms,” runs the press-release of RZD.

“The railway system of the “1520 space” is, in fact, a link between two centres of the global economy – the EU and Asian and Pacific Region countries. Our common goal is to make a consistent system of relations with partners from the CIS countries, the Asian-Pacific Region states, and Europe on the key issues of railway communication development,” said Vladimir Yakunin, cited by the company’s Corporate Communications Department.

Translated by

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
RAWALPINDI - The Pakistan Railways will install CCTV cameras, walkthrough gates and scanner at major railway terminals including Rawalpindi to improve safety standards. Talking to APP, Railways Minister Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour said, “The government was making all-out efforts to improve law and order and the CCTV cameras will help railway security personnel in monitoring the movements of suspicious people, especially terrorists.” The cameras would be connected to a computer room at the railway station that would also help the authorities take action against violators of the ban on smoking. About the future plan of Pakistan Railways, the minister said around 275 new locomotives would be added in fleet shortly in order to improve its efficiency. “Procurement of 225 new locomotives is in progress, while a new project for purchase of 50 additional engines will be launched in July this year,” he said.
Bilour said around 45 new passenger coaches and five power plants electric generator plants had been put in operation and 152 new coaches were in the pipeline, which would help improve the Railways efficiency. He said that container service for Prem Nagar Dry Port was running successfully, while the service had recently been started at Faisalabad Dry Port.
Around 27 used locomotives were being overhauled which would render further 15 years of quality performance. “Special repairs of 150 locomotives presently in operation will be carried out from July 2012 to improve reliability and performance.”
The project for doubling of track between Lodhran and Lahore will be completed by December 2012 and would reduce travel time substantially, the minister added.
He said around eight temporarily suspended train services had already been restored and two passenger trains (Shalimar and Business Express Train) were running between Lahore and Karachi in collaboration with joint venture partners. All reliable locomotives are being sued only for passenger operations in order to improve punctuality and performance. The freight operations service has been restarted with more dedication and it will be stepped up with induction of additional locomotives after repairs, he said, adding, “Emergency plan to repair defective locomotive is in place and work is being executed on war footing.”
The government has allocated an amount of Rs 23 billion in budget 2012-13 for rehabilitation and upgrading infrastructure and acquisition of rolling stock in order to improve service delivery for the convenience of the traveling public.
He said that execution of two projects would start from July 2012 for doubling of track between Lahore Faisalabad and Lahore Lalamusa.
The railways minister said the bidding is in progress through Infrastructure Project Development Facility (IPDF) to allow the private sector to operate freight trains under the Track Access Regime. He said installation of new signaling system is in progress to speed up trains and improve safety standards. Replying to a question, he said that International Cargo Service is in operation up to Istanbul via Iran through ECO train.
Punctuality of the intercity passenger service between Rawalpindi-Lahore and Lahore-Faisalabad trains is monitored regularly to ensure passenger convenience, he said. “Around 2,150 acres of railways land worth more than Rs 2 billion under illegal encroachment has been got vacated from illegal occupants,” he maintained.
EOBI provides Rs7.962b benefit to workers: The Employees Old Age Benefits Institutions (EOBI) has provided Rs7.962 billion to 0.351 million during last nine months to ensure monetary benefits for workers.
This disbursement is 17.8 per cent higher as compared to the corresponding period of last year, an official at EOBI said on Sunday. He said as per plan 0.332 more beneficiaries would take benefit from the EOBI’s programmes till June this year as an additional amount of Rs 3.792 billion is allocated for these beneficiaries. The official said EOBI provides monetary benefits to old age workers through various programmes such as old age pension, invalidity pension, survivors pension and old age grants.
He said the other programme of the government is Workers Welfare Fund (WWF) which is also providing assistance to poor labourers all over the country. It provides funds for housing facilities for industrial workers and for other welfare programmes such as the marriage grant, death grant and scholarships etc. He said during the period mentioned above Rs 77.021 million in expenditures has been incurred for scholarships. There are 1,456 beneficiaries of this programme, who are children of poor workers.
The official said another Rs 636.930 million have been disbursed as Marriage Grants from which 9,138 families of the workers benefited.
He said WWF has also disbursed Rs 341.2 million for Death Grants for 1,079 cases of mishaps of workers all over the country while Rs 2.54 billion expenditures have been incurred during during last ten months for 46 housing schemes which are benefiting 15,000 families of workers.

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