By Pavel Nikiforov
Our railway is currently expanding and updating its fleet, requiring many new wagons and tankers to carry various goods. At present, two plants in Belarus manufacture rolling stock: in Mogilev and Osipovichi. Both enterprises are Belarusian-Russian joint ventures but, until recently, used ‘foreign’ wheels, being completely dependent on their outside suppliers. Until recently, Mogilev Wagon Building Plant was obliged to produce under license from Russian Uralvagonzavod, paying a significant $500,000 for use of their design. The factory will now be able to avoid such expenditure.
According to Director Valery Osipov, alternatives are being sought, to reduce costs and aid independence from single suppliers. He explains, “The railway wagons currently manufactured use Russian or Ukrainian casting, which is rather expensive at $22,000 per tonne. That from China is equal in quality while costing just $15,000 per tonne. According to preliminary calculations, we’ll be able to reduce the price of our wagon by $5,000, helping us compete more confidently on foreign markets.”
The railway wagon developed and produced in Mogilev differs little from its foreign rivals so spare parts should be available from any wagon depot within the Customs Union. Modernisation is now taking place, with a new wagon axle planned which will be able to carry 25 tonnes (up from the current 23 tonnes). Mileage between repairs should rise from 250,000km to 500,000km. Mr. Osipov is pleased to note that the innovation will soon be ready for launch.
Once it has been manufactured, it is sure to become very popular, being used by Osipovichi wagon builders. To become completely independent, Mogilev Wagon Building Plant plans to set up its own casting production at a new plant occupying 33 hectares at Mogilev FEZ. An investor is yet to be found for the major project but BelAZ may be able to step in.