Basel, 24 November 2015. The development of the Eurasian land bridge especially concerning container transits between Western Europe and the Far East is very promising, contrary to the bilateral foreign trade traffics between Russia and Western Europe. Here, enormous decreases in rail traffics had to be absorbed. Yet all in all, the railway companies, forwarders and operators involved in Eurasian traffics have mastered the challenges caused by adverse political and economic frame conditions quite well.
This is the balance of the 24th Plenary Meeting of CCTT (International Council on Transsiberian Transportation) that took place in Vienna on November 10/11, hosted by Austrian Federal Railways ÖBB. The conference was attended by 250 participants from over 20 countries, among them representatives of all the railway companies involved in his corridor, of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, the Federal Customs Authority and the Federal Tariff Service of Russia, as well as representatives of international associations supporting Transsiberian traffic such as GETO and the Japanese TSIAO, and numerous representatives of leading transport and logistics firms and international transport organizations.
The second day of the conference began with a speech by Oleg Belozerov, the newly appointed President of Russian Railways OJSC and at the same time the new Chairman of CCTT. His topic was ‘Transsib: Trends of Freight Transportation in World Economy Globalization Environment’, and he assured CCTT member companies of the continued full support by RZD and its affiliates
Werner Albert, Honorary President and CCTT Vice Chairman, reported for GETO, the Association of European Trans-Siberia Operators. He, too, drew a positive balance of the development of traffics via the Transsiberian land bridge for the period since the last CCTT conference. Especially the transports between China and Europe, he said, are turning into real alternatives for shippers, owing to new and more flexible offers, additional destinations, and continually reduced transit times.
In the field of container block trains as well as with open trains, there are now much more attractive offers for customers. A complex transport system has been newly developed: one train with various destinations in Europe with a fixed transit time, container provision and door delivery. Albert moreover pointed out the intensified cooperative relations with partners in Asia. By contract agreement, for instance between the InterRail Group, a GETO member, and KTZ Express as well China Railway Container Transport Co./ CCTT , the cooperation today has reached a new level of quality.
All in all, GETO sees significant potential for further growth in container transits via the land bridge. One indicator is the increased interest GETO members notice of customers in China and now also in Korea and Japan. What is needed here are fair conditions for the competition and equality in pricing along the different routes for transit through Russia.
“In order to be able to mobilize even further the high potential for the Eurasian container traffics, we need, apart from further reduction of transit times, stability and reliability of the transport technology. Concerning transport rates, the minimum requirement is stability, if not reduction, to boost the customers’ interest”, said GETO President Hans Reinhard during the Vienna conference.
In the meantime, there has been an increase also in eastbound traffics, which allows optimizing container usage at least in part. Today, trains with regular departures run from Madrid, Duisburg, Hamburg, Lodz, and since autumn also from Nurnberg to China and vice versa. Although the situation is still unsatisfactory with only four eastbound trains per week, there seems an upward trend. To increase capacity utilization, there should be monetary incentives in pricing to create round trip traffics.