Irkutsk
Ulan-Ude

Blagoveshchensk
Chita
Yakutsk

Birobidzhan
Vladivostok
Khabarovsk

Magadan
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Anadyr
Petropavlovsk-
Kamchatsky
Moscow

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Transsib for Japan

The capacity of the Trans-Siberian Railway is uncovered and is not disclosed. The management of Russian Railways says only about the volume of transportation, which is 120 million tons

Transsib for Japan

Among Japanese manufacturers there are still few who use the Transsib. However, enterprises involved in the transportation of light weight products with a high cost of goods and express delivery within Russia or in central Asia, it is worth considering the possibilities of using the highway.

The Trans-Siberian Railway is an electrified double-track railway linking the western and eastern parts of the Eurasian continent. The total distance between Moscow and Vladivostok is 9298 km. Compared to the tracks for the Japanese high-speed Shinkansen trains, the width of the Transsib rails is somewhat larger and amounts to 1520 mm. The Transsib contributes to the comprehensive development of the Russian economy and is a key transport artery for the transportation of passengers and goods within the country and beyond. On this railway, raw materials are delivered from the place of production to the place of processing, agricultural products are transported from cities to ports and vice versa, industrial goods are delivered to all regions, people travel in different directions.

Due to the lack of transport capacities and the underdevelopment of the BAM railway, which is called the "second Transsib", the railway is the only artery connecting the European part of Russia with Siberia and the Far East. Since the Trans-Siberian Railway helps in the transportation of not only people and goods within the country, but also connects various Far Eastern ports, such as Vostochny and Nakhodka, with ports located in the west of the country (St. Petersburg), it plays an important role in the implementation of export-import activities and transit traffic between the countries of the Asia-Pacific region and the West. As for the goods transported along the highway, this can only be judged by the general reports of Russian Railways: there is no direct data on the Trans-Siberian Railway. As of 2013, 25% of coal and 20% of oil were transported. This is followed by construction materials (14%) and iron ore (9%).

Advantage by the number of days of transportation

More than 90% of trade between Asia, Russia and Europe takes place via the sea route passing through the Suez Canal. This is not to say that the mainline is a much more convenient way of transporting goods: compared to sea freight, the cost of transportation by rail is higher and there is weak interaction between the main "players" associated with ports, railways and the collection of customs duties. For example, when you need to transport a 20-foot container from Japan to Europe, instead of the amount of 3500 - 4000 dollars, which will cost the sea transportation, transportation via the Transsib costs 6500 - 7000 dollars. In addition to the fact that the use of the Trans-Siberian Railway costs almost 2 times more, the products of Japanese manufacturers sometimes ... disappear along the way, which undermines confidence in the Russian railway services and is the primary reason for the choice of sea routes by cargo carriers.

Nevertheless, if you carry out transportation using the Transsib, you can reduce the travel time compared to sea delivery by about 2 times - up to 16-18 days. Although the cost of transportation also doubles, the obvious advantage is that it is possible to avoid passing the route near areas of military conflict in the Middle East and losses from pirates in the Straits of Malacca. The Transsib also allows transportation to neighboring countries. The "Transsib in 7 days" program is actively advancing: the route from the Russian Far East to Moscow with a length of 10000 km is covered in a week. As for frequent changes in prices for transportation, which call into question the use of the Transsib for cargo transportation, the Russian side has a flexible position, including regarding the introduction of a fixed tariff system.

Competitiveness of the Trans-Siberian Railway

Compared to the communication between the Asia-Pacific countries and Europe / Europe and Russia, on the routes between Asia from the Pacific Ocean and Russian territories, Asia from the Pacific Ocean and Central Asia, the Transsib is more competitive than sea routes. The sales region of Japanese companies in Russia stretches from Moscow and St. Petersburg in the west to Yekaterinburg and Irkutsk in the east. Enterprises that were initially located in the vicinity of Moscow and St. Petersburg and were the main sales areas, due to the expansion of demand, “go” to the Urals and Siberia.

When cargo is delivered from Japan to Russia, what is the best way to use it: by sea or by the Trans-Siberian Railway? If we consider this issue only in terms of material costs, if the destination is a city in the European part of Russia, for example, Moscow or St. Petersburg, then transportation by sea is more profitable. And if it's Siberia or the Far East, then the highway is more competitive. It is believed that the Ural Mountains are a kind of watershed in the tariffs of the Transsib and sea routes.

Advantages of using the highway for the delivery of goods of light weight category and express delivery goods

To take a share in the highly competitive Russian car market, despite the relatively high cost of transportation, a great advantage for Japanese automakers will be a reduction in travel time. The Russian government has developed a system to provide discounts for manufacturers that use the highway, which had a positive effect: the flow of cars transported along the highway amounted to more than 50000 pieces. Now that the discount system is no longer in effect, many Japanese manufacturers continue to use the Transsib as before. Thanks to Japanese manufacturers, cars are the most numerous category of goods transported by this railroad. In addition, the goods are transported by the chemical industry and automobile parts. There are also such manufacturers who use the Transsib for transportation of goods of light weight category with high cost and goods of express delivery.

On the other hand, among the goods delivered from Russia to Asia, in other words, from the West to the East, new trends are emerging. Among them are coal, the volume of transportation of which is growing rapidly. The volume of coal shipped from Russian Far Eastern ports, taking into account the increase in global demand, amounted to 2013 million tons in 55, which is 2,4 times more than in 2008 year. In total, 12 million tons was shipped to Japan. The Russian government has adopted a strategy to ensure that the volume of coal shipped to the Far East doubled by 2030. In Japan, they also pay great attention to coal as an alternative to atomic energy and believe that the importance of Russian coal will increase.

Russia is aimed at increasing the capacity of railways

The demand for logistics services on Transsib and BAM is growing. In particular, the demand for freight using Russian Far Eastern ports. The volume of freight in the Far Eastern ports over the past 5 years increased by 80%. But this is not only the merit of the railways. Russia is reorienting its course towards the APR and is trying to strengthen relations by expanding exports. Together with President Putin’s political measures, the logistics network in the Russian Far East will grow in the next few years.

Due to the growing need for freight traffic with the help of railways in the Far Eastern direction, the capacity of the BAM and the Trans-Siberian Railway will increase. As for the highway, in order to increase the capacity, work is under way to increase the efficiency of its operation.

Although the BAM, which runs all the way across the country (in contrast to the Trans-Siberian Railway), in places is also a double-track electrified railway, on most of the route it is an unelected single-track, which means transportation restrictions. As exploration of raw materials along the railway tracks, in particular the Elginskoye coal field, is actively conducted, this year since the 40 anniversary of the opening of the road, we have seriously engaged in improving the throughput through electrification and creating a second track for the Baikal-Amur Mainline. By 2017, it is also planned to invest in improving the capacity of BAM and Transsib.

Expectations for more intensive use of Transsib

There is no need to think that the mainline and sea routes are competing with each other. If we talk about delivery time, then the main advantage is, if about the price, then sea transportation benefits. For example, if the price of transportation on the Transsib decreases, and the goods that were originally transported by sea will be transported by rail, this does not mean that the main line will be able to fully carry out transportation. Rather, the Transsib and the sea route can be called not competitors, but complementary elements.

If we talk about commodity exchange between Europe and Asia, the Trans-Siberian Railway is practically not involved: in comparison with the share of sea transportation, the share of the highway is not significant at all. However, if the convenience of rail transportation improves, there is a possibility that there will be a transition to the use of the Transsib. In conditions of global competition and the development of the global market of commodity exchange, the Transsib has great expectations. At the forefront is the dignity of the highway, which consists in reducing the time of cargo transportation by almost 2 times, and therefore it is important to make efforts to make this direction attractive for freight carriers.

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