Frankfurt / Main, 30.5.2013. „In order to achieve competitiveness for goods transported by rail on the East-West axes to Russia and onwards to Central Asia as well as the Far East, we urgently need better conditions,” Hans Reinhard, Chairman of GETO (Association of European Transsiberian Operators and Forwarders), said at its General Assembly held in May in Frankfurt. In the short term, the GETO member companies will therefore present a common catalogue of requirements for the development of rail traffic between Western Europe and Russia and/or the other CIS states, and will forward same to the relevant responsible bodies. Key issues will be questions such as the need for competitive pricing, more cost transparency and reduced costs, for a comprehensive introduction of end-to-end freight documents, as well as stronger enforcement of simplified customs procedures. “By having close relationships to the International Coordinating Council for Transsiberian Transport (CCTT) in Moscow and the Management of RZD and other CIS Railways, it is possible for us to elevate both the problems encountered by our members as well as the resulting requirements to the correct address”, Reinhard underlined. He further explained that the urgency for more pressure for improved competitive conditions for rail traffic on the East-West axes was a result of the current signs of stagnation on the Russian freight transport market and the increasing competition of heavy goods vehicles on long distances.
In his analysis of the general developments on the railway market of the CIS and in particular of Russia, the GETO Chairman addressed in detail the changing conditions, which are due to a large number of private wagon operators, and the lack of clear legal instructions in Russia, which should regulate fair relations between forwarders, operators and consigners of goods.
At the General Assembly, all members agreed that the availability of wagons for rail traffic going East had improved considerably during the past few months. There were enough wagons available at the border crossings and interfaces, given that the number of transported goods had decreased compared to the previous year, and since there had been some improvements in the wagon management of the Russian railway sector. Considering some types of wagons such as Open top wagons, there had even been a real surplus capacity of privately owned rolling stock.
GETO was founded in Basel in 1978. Its goal was to safeguard the interests of European Trans-Siberian operators and to support traffic on the most important Eurasian railway corridor. Meanwhile, the Association has broadened its profile. With its interest in East-West railway traffic and the relevant operators and forwarders, GETO not only looks at big transit traffic through Russia, but also strongly considers bilateral rail traffic with Russia as well as the other CIS countries. The interest in this respect has increased, which is reflected by six new member companies that joined GETO at this year’s GA.
Thanks to its own website (www.geto.ch) and own chat forum for members, the Association created better conditions for information and communication. “By using modern IT within the framework of GETO itself, we want to reiterate our demands for stronger usage of electronic data exchange for quicker handling and an end-to-end IT supported tracking and tracing,” said Werner Albert, longstanding Chairman of GETO and today Honorary Chairman, thus commenting on this development. Alongside the Assembly, Albert, who is also Vice Chairman of CCTT in Moscow, firmly pointed out and opposed the danger emanating from a monopoly of the East-West railway traffic: “As much as it may sound positive that there is a growing number of goods transports between Western Europe and China, this almost exclusively refers to a few large-scale operators and big customers. To develop these traffic routes sustainably, we need offers that are attractive and open to a broad range of customers, especially also from the medium-sized economy. This is an important realm of functions for GETO in its further development“.