2023 March 17 17:01

TransContainer consiers it reasonable to use gondola cars in container logistics only on routes going to the Far East

Image source: Russian Railways' Telegram
The practice of gondola services aggravated the local shortage of containers in other points of the railway network

Transportation of containers in gondola cars has proved to be a good technological solution which reduced the sharpness of the problem with the transportation of import cargo from the Far East within a short period of time but it has aggravated the local shortage of the container fleet in other points of the railway network, Victor Markov, First Vice-President of PAO TransContainer, said at the meeting of the working group of the International Coordinating Council on Trans-Eurasian Transportation (ICCTT). Victor Markov thinks it is reasonable to use gondola cars only on the Far East routes.

The practice of gondola services has shown their disadvantages in view of Russian logistics’ specifics. The expansion of this technology to other points where container flows start creates serious problems in the country and makes it difficult to remove empty containers, particularly from Moscow transport hub, the busiest one in the country. “Gondola cars which deliver imports to the capital region leave for coal-mining regions immediately after being unloaded while some of the containers are not removed and we already see the enormous congestion of containers in the Moscow region,” said Viktor Markov.

The situation can be improved by an increase in the number of approved applications and requests for sending containers eastward to the export-forming regions of the Urals and Siberia.

Victor Markov believes that it is necessary to pursue the decisions made by the government in late 2022 on launching of 3 more container trains per day on the eastward routes.

After the country’s logistics turned eastward, the problem of overloading of the Far East ports was addressed by the Ministry of Transport and Russian Railways which set up a rapid response centre to managethe forwarding of containers from port terminals in the Far East.

As Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev said at the meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with Government members, the possibility of increasing container transport rates for eastbound shipping in 2023 while simultaneously reducing the rates for shipments to the ports in the northwest could stabilize the situation.

According to him, the following measures should be undertaken: 5 container trains should leave the Far East terminals every day; discount for railway transportation of containers in gondola cars should be extended until the end of 2023; 3 more container trains with gondola cars per should be launched. The Ministry of Transport and the business are to work out a package of measures to ensure shipment of cargo from the Far East of up to 6-6.5 thousand tonnes TEU per day.

PJSC TransContainer is among the largest intermodal container operators in Eurasia. Its fleet numbers about 113,000 containers of over 167,000 TEU and over 42,000 flatcars. The company owns 37 railway terminals in Russia and operates three more terminals through its subsidiaries and joint stock companies. TransContainer holds 58.51% of Sakhalin Shipping Company (SASCO) the fleet of which numbers 13 ice-class sea vessels. Delo Group is the only shareholder of the company.