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Containerization in the Far East

How does the transportation market in the east of the country change?

Container shipments in the Far East are growing at a faster rate than the Russian average. Demand for transportation increases not only in connection with the external economic situation, but also due to the further containerization of transportation of goods. EastRussia has studied transport statistics for the Far East for the first quarter.

Containerization in the Far East
In the first quarter, the volume of container shipments in the Far Eastern Railway amounted to 109,2 thousand containers in 20-foot equivalent (TEU), in which 1,2 million tons were sent - 26,4% more than last year's level. At the same time, in March 39,7 thousand TEU were transported from 470,6 thousand tons of cargo, which exceeded the indicator of the same period of 2017 by a third.

The growth of the container flow is also evidenced by port statistics. According to the Association of Russian Sea Trade Ports, the container turnover of the terminals of the Far Eastern Basin increased by 14% to 357,63 thousand TEU in January-March (note that in general, over the ports of Russia, which processed about 1,2 million TEU, the increase was 12,6%). For example, the volume of containers handled in the Vladivostok Commercial Sea Port (ICPP) in the I quarter increased by 17% and reached 111 thousand TEU. 

In Vladivostok the increase in transshipment of container cargo is associated with the development of sea container services. Today through the port pass 15 regular coasting and international lines connecting Vladivostok with 8 countries around the world. According to the general director of the company, Zairbek Yusupov, in 2018, it is planned to increase the number of container ship calls. So, in January the port took the first vessel in the framework of the new service of China - Russia Express by South Korean Sinokor Merchant Marine Co. In March, FESCO signed an agreement on the intention to cooperate with another company from South Korea. CJ Logistics Corp: with the assistance of the Russian partner, it intends to develop trade routes between Asia and Europe via Vladivostok via the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Other port stations of the Vladivostok Node Cape Churkin and Gaydamak show a growth in container loading, to which the Vladivostok Sea Container Terminal and Pacific Logistics are adjacent. In particular, they provide the demand for the dispatch of imported auto parts in the direction of Moscow, Ulyanovsk, Togliatti.

Some stations work successfully on the principle of a rear terminal or a dry port. In particular, the container site at the First Rechka station plays the role of a kind of buffer at the junction of different modes of transport. The cargo delivered by rail is unloaded on a dry terminal and then transported by road to Vladivostok port territory or is under accumulation. As a result of 2017, 1,7 million tons of cargo was processed on the First River - 19% more than the result of 2016. At the same time, the rear terminal has a reserve capacity of more than a quarter.

Positive dynamics is demonstrated by such hub stations as Komsomolsk and Khabarovsk-2. For the further development of container transportation this year, the reconstruction of the cargo yard of Khabarovsk-2 station is planned (it is serviced by the Far Eastern Directorate for Terminal and Warehouse Management). It includes the enlargement of a specialized site (one-time capacity will increase from 2,7 thousand to 3,4 thousand TEU), increase in the useful length of the receiving and sending route, upgrade equipment. 

"Replacement of obsolete gantry cranes for more advanced ones with a cargo capacity of more than 40 t reachstackers (loader for working with large-capacity containers - EastRussia) will exclude additional maneuvering work on the selection of wagons on deadlocks previously limited to performing work only with 20-foot containers. After the works, the selection of wagons will not be required, which will speed up the receipt of cargo, in connection with which the services we offer will be more attractive to potential customers, "the management of the terminal-warehouse complex notes.

The increase in the container flow of an independent analyst in the field of transport Alexander Redko associates with the expansion of containerization of transportation. In many respects this can be seen in timber products (veneer, pellets), in addition, the need for container transportation of agricultural products grows in the Far Eastern consignors. Another trend is the switching of perishable goods, mainly fish, to refrigerated containers. Due to the aging of the refrigerator sections (1975-1990 years of construction), compared to five years ago, their average availability on the Far Eastern Railway has almost tripled. As a consequence, the share of seafood loading in refcontainers is growing. At the same time, the expert says, it is necessary to develop the appropriate infrastructure, which is not yet sufficient in the Far East.

However, certain steps are being taken in this direction. For example, the technical equipment of the freight yard of the Artem-Primorskiy-1 station did not allow satisfying the client's demand at the speed of transporting perishable cargoes. In the second quarter of 2018, it is planned to complete the modernization of the container platform, which will have the ability to simultaneously connect more than 100 refcontainers to the power source, which should attract additional volumes of cargo. Now it is planned to organize a service for sending accelerated cold container trains in the direction of Kuntsevo-2 station. If last year 1 thousand containers were unloaded in the cargo yard of Artem-Primorsky-3,8, this year 9 thousand are projected, and in 2020 - 11,5 thousand.
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