Growing volumes, the reliability of the service, and the high level of security of these transports let customers trust in this possibility of freight transport between Europe and China and other Asian countries - a solid base for the further development of these traffics, agreed the participants of the 23rd Plenary Meeting of the CCTT (Coordinating Council on Trans-Siberian Transportation) in Yekaterinburg, Western Siberia, on September 4 to 5.
200 delegates from 18 countries took part; among them representatives of all railway companies involved in this corridor, of the Russian Federation's Ministry of Transport, the Federal Customs Authorities and of Russia's Federal Tariff Service. There were also representatives of international associations for the promotion of Trans-Siberian traffic like the European GETO and TSIOAJ from Japan, as well as numerous representatives of leading transport and logistics companies and of international transport organizations.
CCTT reported that the growth rates of transit container traffics via the Trans-Siberian railway magistral had been + 15 % in 2013, and 21.6 % in H1/2014. All in all, in H1/2014, international container transports along the Trans-Sib (export, import and transit) were 865.6 TEUs, an increase of 8 %, of which 67.9 TEUs were transit cargo, whereby 92 % were transported on container block trains. The largest part was China-Europe traffics such as Chengdu-Lodz and Chongqing-Duisburg. Offers from GETO members such as InterRail's block train connection Wuhan-Pardubice and FELB's Suzhou-Warsaw are also in good demand on the market.
Major milestones for the further increase of international traffics along the Trans-Siberian railway corridor are, according to OAO RZD President Vladimir Yakounin, the current expansion and development projects on the Trans-Sib and the Baikal Amur Magistral BAM - an investment of 562 billion RUR over the next few years. Yakounin directed the audience's attention also to such projects as the beginning of freight traffic via the railway border crossing at Khassan, Russia - Tumangan, North Korea, this July to the new trans-shipment center at Rajin, or the efforts to develop a broad gauge transport corridor to Vienna, Austria. Yakounin reported that the Russian Government had agreed, on August 30, to the foundation of the United Transport and Logistics Corporation OTLK by the countries of the customs union, including the appropriate capital contribution of TransContainer and RZD Logistik to the new organization. All this, he emphasized, will contribute to the development of the possibilities of Eurasian traffics via the Trans-Sib.
The report of the Association of European Transsiberian Operators, GETO, came from Honorary President Werner Albert, who is also Vice Chairman of CCTT. He pointed out the current difficult situation, politically and economically, for East-West traffics, which means an enormous challenge for all railways, forwarders, operators and shippers. Yet he stressed that continuity had been, again and again, a challenge for rail transport between East and West. Taking stock, he said the development of the land bridge between Europe and Asia, especially of the rail traffics between China and Europe, in 2013 was positive owing to growing volumes and improved quality. Concerning the future development, Albert suggested increasing the offer of regular, attractive open block trains to make better use for the Eurasian land bridge of the potential of SMEs and also big shippers of single containers and container groups. He pleaded for better cooperation between the different organizations and parties involved in the logistics chains along the Eurasian land bridge, and again strictly opposed any monopolizing tendencies in these traffics.
Gennady Bessonov, CCTT Secretary General, emphasized that in the next few months, the work teams of the Council were to put their effort into further realizing the "electronic train" project and the project "guaranteed transport and logistics product" for the Eurasian railway routes on the basis of regular, international container train services,. Both projects enjoy the active support of TransRail BCH, an affiliate of the InterRail Group, a GETO member; the latter project being headed by Inter Rail directly. (Detail on the activities of CCTT at www.icctt.com.)
Also discussed during the CCTT Meeting were the better management of empty containers, the better acquisition in Europe of loads going back to China and other Asian countries, and the connection of existing container block train systems such as Ostwind - Westwind to the Eurasian land bridge. One of the central topics was harmonizing the legal regulations for Eurasian traffic with international standards in cooperation with international railway organizations. GETO President Hans Reinhard lauded the very frank, objective, and constructive atmosphere of the event. "In Yekaterinburg, as well as at all previous meetings of CCTT that was founded 20 years ago, we discussed intensively how to further increase the competitiveness of transit traffics via the Trans-Siberian railway magistral", he said, "we discussed tariff issues and ever shorter transit times. But we have definitely overcome the stage where we have to fight for initiating Eurasian rail traffics . The land bridge has proved to be sustainable. The rising figures in the background have increased the optimism concerning potential future developments."