Russia/China rail freight to double in next decade
The Russian Railways expects freight traffic to double between Russia and China in the next decade.
Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin, who spoke at the fifth Russian-Chinese Economic Forum in Moscow on Nov. 24, said this freight market already accounts for a substantial share of external trade freight between Russia and China. During the first 10 months of 2010, the volume of rail freight between the two countries increased 33 percent to reach 53 million tons, he said.
About 94 percent of the cargo comprises Russian oil, timber, chemical, and mineral fertilizer exports, but in 2010, with the greater volume of Chinese machinery and technical goods imports also started to increase.
'Russian Railways is paying close attention to improving transport provision and developing rail and terminal-logistic infrastructure on the main freight routes between Russia and China,' Yakunin said.
In line with the Russian government's goals, the railroad is developing infrastructure in Siberia and Russia's Far East. Last year, more than 12 billion rubles were spent on developing rail infrastructure in the Russian Far East, and this year, the company plans to invest another 13 billion rubles.
During 2010, rail freight volumes in heavy goods containers between Russia and China is expected to increase about 50 percent, along with transit freight between China and European Union. As part of efforts to develop cooperation in rail container freight, Russian Railways has reached agreements with Chinese and German partners on creating a joint venture for container transport. The Russian Railways subsidiary TransContainer will represent Russia in the joint venture.
Under the program of cooperation between regions of Russia's Far East and East Siberia and China's northwest provinces, Russian Railways will participate in a project to create a new border crossing between Russia and China. The project involves the creation a rail line from Leninsk to the Chinese border, along with the construction of a railway bridge from Nizhneleninskoye to Tongjiang across the Amur River, and the reconstruction of the existing Birobidzhan-Leninsk line.
The project is being carried out on the basis of a public-private partnership, and is directly linked to the creation of an ore mining and smelting cluster in the Amur area. Under the project, the parties plan to deliver around 20 million tons of iron ore and other commodities to China annually by 2020.
Another potential area for expanding cooperation is in container freight from Northwest Chinese provinces with no direct access to the coast via Russian Far East ports, for subsequent delivery to South China, Japan, South Korea, and other countries, the Russian Railways said.