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Export boundaries

The situation with cargo checkpoints in the Far East was discussed at the Far Eastern Export Forum.

Delivery of your goods abroad is of the highest priority for the exporter. Large companies that sell their product "by steamships and railroad trains", or build their own supply chains, or use the services of intermediaries. What opportunities do small and medium-sized businesses have in the Far East? This was discussed at the round table "Transport and logistics vector of the East of Russia" of the Far Eastern Export Forum. The central topic was not so much the choice of the delivery method as the situation with checkpoints on the section of the state border with China in the Khabarovsk Territory.

Export boundaries
Photo: Press Service of the Government of Primorsky Krai

Finding the optimal route in terms of time and cost is an ongoing process for an exporter. Now that the pandemic has led to a logistic crisis on a planetary scale, the complexity of this task is multiplying. It would seem - where is the whole world, and where is the Khabarovsk Territory? However, in search of, if not the main route, then at least paths, freight carriers use even the most unobvious transport “streams”. One of the examples is the Khabarovsk river port - this year the transshipment of containers from China began through it. They are delivered by barges along the Amur River and loaded onto the railroad. However, Khabarovsk was not ready for the appetite of Chinese shippers.

Photo: Heilongjiang Shipping Group Co Ltd

“The barges have to stand for a long time in the roadstead, no one can accept them, - said Pavel Shashkov, director of the Khabarovsk branch of the Federal State Institution“ Rosgranstroy ”, - the port is overloaded. For various reasons, difficulties arose with the crossing of goods from the Sino-Russian border, the cargo had accumulated, and now carriers are writing letters to their Chinese partners, informing them that they will no longer be able to handle cargo this year, but five more barges should arrive at the moment. At the same time, practically the checkpoint Nizhneleninskoe - Tongjiang is idle, but for some reason everyone liked Khabarovsk. "

In total, the Khabarovsk branch of Rosgranstroy is in charge of 23 checkpoints, of which nine are in the Khabarovsk Territory. The main export flow goes through the ports of Vanino, Sovetskaya Gavan, De-Kastri, but this is mainly coal and oil products. However, since September, the Vanino Commercial Sea Port has resumed, after a ten-year pause, the reception and handling of containers. But despite the fact that the Khabarovsk river port is “choking”, a paradoxical situation has developed at the Pokrovka-Zhaohe cargo-passenger checkpoint, which is located 250 kilometers from Khabarovsk. Since March 2020, goods have not passed through it, because there is no business entity and there is no one to handle the goods. 

Photo: nress service of the Government of the Khabarovsk Territory

“Customs, border control - everyone is at work and ready to carry out their activities,” said Pavel Shashkov, “however, there are no interested organizations that would undertake the transshipment of cargo. The situation is such that even if a cargo arrives by water now, there is no one to take it off the barge. Besides, there is no elementary storage area. "

Кround table "Transport and logistics vector of the East of Russia" of the Far Eastern Export Forum

The regional authorities are largely responsible for the current situation, says Nikita Mikhalev, the head of a cardboard exporting company, who in the past headed the Far Eastern Association of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. “We (“ Far Eastern Association of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs ”- Ed.) Back in 2018 predicted an explosive growth in exports. Many factors worked - and numerous programs to support exporters, earned after the President's instructions, and the devaluation of the ruble, and a decrease in demand in the domestic market - all this pushed entrepreneurs to enter foreign markets, - Nikita Mikhalev told EastRussia, - and we warned that the infrastructure of both the port and border crossings available in the Far East is not enough to meet the needs of business. What we actually encountered. And now, observing all this, especially when you hear from representatives of the regional authorities, from global carriers that they did not expect this, then you simply feel a shock. How did you not expect when, for at least five years, you pushed the business to increase exports? "

During the roundtable speeches and behind the scenes, it was consistently emphasized that the pandemic had a difficult to predict and large-scale impact on all export logistics. This affected both the global transport market and local transportation. Strict sanitary control - especially on the border with China - now and then led to a halt or a sharp slowdown in the work of automobile checkpoints. And now - as of November 1, 2021, about 1500 trucks are expected to travel at border crossings with the PRC. Most of it is in Transbaikalia - almost a thousand heavy trucks are stuck in a traffic jam at the entrance to the largest international automobile checkpoint (MAPP) from the PRC, Zabaikalsk - Manchuria.

Photo Shoot: press office Strut "Transbaikalia"

In Primorye, in the area of ​​the Pogranichny crossing, about 300 trucks have accumulated. The visit to this particular checkpoint in June this year caused an extremely negative reaction from the Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev. He learned that the construction of the crossing began in 2013, but due to the negligence of the contractors, work at the facility was suspended at a 10 percent readiness level. Work will resume after adjusting the design estimates next year. It is planned to commission the border crossing in 2023. Speaking at a meeting on the functioning and development of international checkpoints across the state border of the Russian Federation in the Primorsky Territory, Yuri Trutnev then noted: “There is a queue of many kilometers at checkpoints. This shouldn't happen. All this shows the attitude of responsible persons towards people. And the officials, who allow this, must answer for it. "

inspection of the infrastructure of the border crossing "Pogranichny", June 1 November 2021, XNUMX
Photo: Press Service of the Government of Primorsky Krai

“We are talking about the country's competitiveness in the world market, about the development of the Far East. We attract business to the Far Eastern regions, create new investment projects so that people can then sell their products, including abroad. And the cargo is idle, deliveries are disrupted, ”the plenipotentiary stressed.
Due to downtime, the delivery time of goods from China by road increased by an average of 30–40 days, and one day of downtime for a heavy truck costs an average of 25 to 000 rubles. due to additional costs for the driver's labor, his accommodation and meals, placement of cargo in a temporary storage warehouse (TSW).

However, the current situation at the crossing points is not necessarily a systemic thing. Until antiquity restrictions were introduced, large-scale congestion at the border did not occur often. And the actual global complaints of exporters about the difficulties with the transportation of their products abroad were not received by the Export Support Center of the Khabarovsk Territory, said its director Anastasia Molokova. “The export indicators of the Khabarovsk Territory are not decreasing,” she said, “it remains at the level of 2020 - $ 1,8 billion, all who previously exported abroad, they continue to do so. Yes, now cargoes go slower, but in general, exports remain at the same level. But more and more companies are now looking towards the external market, we expect significant growth and new logistics opportunities, border crossings will be in great demand. "

Bridge Blagoveshchensk - Heihe
photo: press service of the government of the Amur region

There is movement in this direction - in November, freight traffic will start on the transboundary bridge over the Amur in Blagoveshchensk (Amur Region). Cross-border freight turnover across the bridge connecting the capital of the Amur Region and the city of Heihe (PRC) will make it possible to form a logistics hub in the Amur Region, the use of which will reduce the transportation of goods to the European part of Russia by 1,5 thousand km. This was announced by Kirill Zatravin, Deputy Director of the Infrastructure Development Department of the Far East and the Arctic of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, during parliamentary hearings: "On the construction of a backbone transport network of the Russian Federation, integrated into the international system of cross-border transportation" in the Federation Council. “At the moment, we have already received a note from our Chinese colleagues that they are ready to open. A similar note is being prepared by the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and it is planned that the opening of freight traffic will be made in November, ”he said.

In the spring of next year, the Jewish Autonomy is expected to open the first cross-border railway bridge between Russia and the PRC. The agreement on the construction of the Nizhneleninskoye - Tongjiang bridge was signed in 2013, and work began in 2016. But the appearance of the long-awaited automobile checkpoint on the island of Bolshoy Ussuriisky near Khabarovsk is again postponed for natural reasons.

“In 2013, 2020 and this year, we faced a high water level,” reported Pavel Shashkov, director of the Khabarovsk branch of FGKU “Rosgranstroy”, “the hydrological situation on the river has changed, and the places that were the passes are periodically flooded, so it is necessary to work out the issue of water protection measures. "

Image: Khabarovsk branch FGKU "Rosgranstroy"

The land plot for the checkpoint on the island of Bolshoy Ussuriisky has already been cadastralized, its exact coordinates have been agreed with the PRC and any changes will result in a difficultly predictable time. Therefore, now changes are being made to the already completed feasibility study of the cargo-passenger checkpoint. “We, the Agency for Attracting Investments and Investment Development of the Khabarovsk Territory, are the leader and operator of this particular stage,” Andrey Dymchenko, director of APIRI, told EastRussia, “for the third time there is a need to refine this justification. Initially, it was prepared only for a cargo crossing, then for a cargo and passenger crossing. Hydrological changes do not allow going according to the previously outlined plan, therefore, the task was promptly set to design a new justification by February 2022 ”.    

Problems with the delivery of their products can discourage small and medium-sized businesses from being interested in exporting to the Middle Kingdom. Against the backdrop of rising container traffic and high railway tariffs, new road crossings on the border with China will not only reduce tensions and remove congestion, but also give entrepreneurs freedom of maneuver. Now it is possible to deliver cargo to China by heavy cargo through just five checkpoints, while on the border, say, with Finland, there are six of them, despite the fact that the length of the border with Finland is three times less than with China.

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