Freight collapse arose where it was not expected

The Ministry of Transport of Russia sees no problems with rail transport, there is enough traction and freight rolling stock to organize transportation to the Far Eastern ports, RIA Novosti reports the words of the Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev from an online meeting with the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “There are no problems with the railway and Everything is working, there is enough port capacity,” Savelyev reported to the president.

In the fall of 2021, Far Eastern ports faced an influx of container cargo from Japan, Korea and China. Logistics to Europe, which has risen in price at times, has forced the Asia-Pacific countries to look for new ways to transit their cargo. The Russian railway turned out to be the most convenient and profitable route for container cargo.


Thus, the transportation of containers through the Russian railway network for 10 months of 2021 amounted to about 5.4 million TEU, which is 12.7% more than a year earlier. At the same time, the transportation of containers in domestic traffic increased by 6.4% to 2.043 million TEU. Export shipments increased by 8.2% to 1.301 million TEU, import traffic – by 13.8% to 1.152 million TEU. But the most significant growth was shown by transit – by 1.4 times to 889 thousand TEU.

“Our export cargo comes from China, South Korea, Japan and there are many of them. But these containers are going along the Trans-Siberian Railway towards Europe,” Savelyev reported to the President.

At the same time, the Russian Railways infrastructure copes with the influx of containerized cargo. But the collapse has come where it seemed it could not be – there is an acute shortage of ships on the market. During the meeting, Savelyev reported on the situation with the workload of the ports of Primorye, and according to him, there are enough capacities. “The increase in the cost of freight, due to high demand, has become 2.5 times higher than it was before. As a result, coastal companies have lost the opportunity to attract additional vessels to relieve peak loads in the operation of lines. This problem, as we revealed today, is the lack of courts,” Savelyev said.

The shortage of ships can result in big social problems for the Far Eastern regions. So the supply of the Far Eastern Chukotka, Kamchatka, Sakhalin and the Magadan region goes by sea, through Vladivostok. As a result, goods going there can get stuck in transit for a long time. So the inhabitants of Chukotka complained to the president about the shortage in stores. Delays in deliveries have been going on for three months now, in small settlements there are empty shelves, no vegetables and fruits, no dairy products, no eggs, and potatoes are running out.

The minister, in turn, spoke about several possible solutions to the problem. Among other things, Savelyev suggested fixing the priority of socially significant cargoes when working with them in ports. “You said that you need to define priorities – so define them. It is impossible to leave entire regions without cement and without other building materials. And after that, the hour is not even, something else will not be enough there. Be sure to clean up here, and as soon as possible. And report to the Prime Minister [Mikhail Mishustin],” the head of state ordered.

The minister, in turn, proposed the option of creating a state-owned shipping company, noting that this requires “not so much money to solve peak loads.” “Yes, well, for God’s sake, just how much will you create a company?” – retorted Putin. The President also asked whether there is enough rolling stock and locomotives on the railways in this situation. Hearing that there were no problems with this, the head of state concluded: “Okay, I heard.”

The press service of the Russian Railways reported that in order to solve the supply of the Far Eastern regions, close cooperation has been established with Russian ports for the prompt delivery of priority cargo to remote regions.

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