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21 Февраля 2018

RLL Container Report - 21 February 2018

From: John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd. Email: john.keir@telia.com Date: 21 February 2018

Every picture tells a story.

If you follow this link to the RUPEC site (http://www.rupec.ru/news/37148/ ) you will find a picture of a PhosAgro warehouse full of Big Bags packed with fertilisers. In 2017, sales of PhosAgro fertilisers on the Russian market rose by 12.3% to 2.34 million tons and consumed three out of every ten tons produced by the fertiliser giant. The majority of both domestic and export shipments are transported in big or smaller bags by truck, rail or bulk vessels. In 2017, PhosAgro invested Rbl 600 million in upgrading its distribution network, which can now store at any one time 13% of annual production. Together with their two compatriots, Uralkali and Akron, Phosagro competes for a share of the global fertiliser market. This market, is, in turn, influenced by the rapid population growth and by the change in global diet.

Fertilisers are considered to be a traditional bulk commodity and are normally transported by truck or by conventional rail wagons. However, as the major suppliers seek to market their fertiliser as a product rather than merely as a bulk a commodity, there has been a movement towards containerisation. Not only does this change of mode reduce the cargo loss in transit but it also solves the problem of dust pollution in the loading and discharging ports. At the same time, the major exporters in Russia and Europe can take advantage of the numerous container lines offering regular box services around the globe. In the past, the import containers were simply returned empty but now these units can be used to transport the bagged products to any destination at highly competitive prices thus generating extra income for the lines.

In the case of land-locked states such as Zimbabwe and Zambia in southern Africa, containerisation also speeds up the distribution of the agricultural products by rail from the port of Beira to the receivers located some 600 km inland in Harare or 1,000 km in Lusaka. Fortunately, the countries in this part of southern Africa share the same rail gauge, allowing for quicker and more regular distribution of transit cargoes to clients located further inland. We have already seen in Ethiopia, Kenya and Mozambique’s neighbour, Tanzania how the improved rail services from the ports on the Indian Ocean to the inland destinations have greatly improved the distribution of containerised cargoes, while at the same time encouraging the export of locally-grown agricultural products. The benefits of intermodal transport are not restricted merely to the outbound leg of the intermodal chain.

John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd.
21 February 2018

Copyright ©, 2018, John Keir

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