At the junction of west and east

Transport co-operation to expand with container carriages

Transport co-operation to expand with container carriages


This year’s heat in Belarus has left railway transportation extra busy, following falling water levels on the River Bug near Brest. Moreover, the movement of heavy vehicles has been restricted along the M1/ E30 Brest-Minsk-Russian border motorway, due to the heat. However, the railway continues to work just fine.


Brest’s container infrastructure is well developed

Over the first six months of this year, Belarusian railways has transported 3.7m tonnes of transit cargo (covering East-West-East directions) and, according to its estimates, will see the volume of container transportation rise 4.5-fold by 2020. It is being facilitated by a new joint enterprise, established by Belarus and Russia in Brest, with the volume of investments reaching $6.6m.

The figures were presented in Brest at a recent co-ordination session involving representatives of railway administrations from Belarus and Russia, as well as heads of transport-logistics companies from these countries, alongside those from Kazakhstan and Germany.

The important geopolitical location of Belarusian Railways, at the junction of 1.435m and 1.52m gauge lines, has long predetermined its role as an interlink between Western Europe and the Union State, and the Eurasian Economic Union. It is skilfully using the situation to its advantage, using specialised container trains which can travel through Belarus, from Krasnoe station (on the border with Russia) to Brest, in under 12 hours.

It’s difficult to overestimate the role of the Brest railway junction for the Eurasian transport-logistics market: the time of train processing is reduced, and there is plenty of capacity. Meanwhile, the Brest-Severny cargo terminal provides a range of services, relating to processing and storage, as participants of the session saw during their tour.

The head of the Belarusian delegation, the First Deputy Head of Belarusian Railways, Vladimir Mikhailyuk, notes that the range of services at Brest will be expanded. He tells us, “Brest boasts developed infrastructure, being able to reload up to 700 carriages and over 900 containers daily, and to store up to 1,590 containers. On average, 100 carriages are reloaded daily at the Brest railway junction, so there is plenty of capacity for more. We can increase our volumes of container train transportation 10-fold.”

Belarus is contributing the terminal assets of Brest-Severny station to the statutory charter of the new joint venture, while Russia is injecting $1m in funds, to enable the purchase of new equipment, including machinery for lifting, and an IT system.

Belarusian Railways is to hold a 86 percent share against Russia’s 14 percent, and the new joint enterprise will be part of the United Transport and Logistics Company (UTLC), dealing with organisation of railway container transportation. The company was set up in December 2014 by Customs Union member states, aiming to increase cargo flow from western regions of China. The UTLC will become a key infrastructural service for the enterprise.

According to UTLC President Piotr Baskakov the joint venture is nearly ready to launch. He notes, “The property assessment report is now complete and the business plan is ready, with a memorandum and article of association. It is at the completion stage, so we plan to set up the JV by the end of the year. It should pay for itself within nine years.”

Alongside traditional reloading of cargoes, comprehensive and innovative services are envisaged, ranging from all forms of transit customs clearance and transportation to processing of small batches of cargo.


WORD FOR WORD


Boris Pastukhov, Senior Vice President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry:

The Union State and its programmes are pursuing one goal: intensive development through innovations and sci-tech achievements. One of the key vectors of development for the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is innovation. Using Belarusian industrial opportunities, we can achieve much. I’ve always been impressed by how our Belarusian colleagues find new points of application, so we can certainly learn from each other. We should co-operate as equals, understanding that we can obtain much by sharing our innovations.

By Valentina Kozlova
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