RLL Container Report - 07 March 2018
From: John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 07 March 2018
The East-West axis.
Over the next six years, Russian Railways (RZD) plan to increase the volume of cargo moving along the Baikal-Amur and Transiberian railways by 50% to 180 million metric tons. At the same time, transit times on the rail routes from the Far East port of Vladivostok to the western borders of Russia will be slashed to a mere seven days. A shorter transit time would not only boost Russian production but would also be of great interest to the Chinese authorities, as they re-locate their industries from the crowded and more expensive coastal cities further inland. This year alone, China is investing USD 115 Billion in upgrading the rail infrastructure in central and western China, which will eventually lead to a reduction in transit times.
One of the main beneficiaries will be the industrial city of Chongqing, which lies 1670 km to the west of Shanghai. Improved rail connections via Mongolia or Kazakhstan and then on to Russia will allow Chinese manufacturers to channel a greater portion of exports via the improved overland routes. Situated 400 km to the west in Sichuan Province, Chengdu is a rapidly expanding powerhouse with a population of some 15 million. Together, Chengdu and Chongqing would benefit from the upgrades being made to the rail lines running north and west, which provide exporters with a far shorter option to markets in Russia and from there to the eastern half of the European Union. Manufacturers in central and western China will also be studying with interest proposals to construct a broad-gauge rail line from Kosice in eastern Slovakia to the capital, Bratislava and from there to the Austrian capital, Vienna. A broad-gauge line would also supply Hungary to the south and the Czech Republic to the north giving a total of 35 million consumers within a short distance of the proposed rail terminal in Parndorf in S E Austria. This 400 km westward extension of the broad-gauge network is calculated to cost Euro 6.7 billion, which raises the question: do you get enough bangs for your bucks?
Poland alone has a population greater than that of the four nations combined and it too has an existing broad gauge line from Ukraine. The single-track line runs for almost 400 km from the Polish-Ukrainian border-crossing to Sławków Południowy, near Katowice. Currently, it is used only for freight, mainly iron ore and coal and is the westernmost outpost of the broad-gauge network. More importantly, the big powerhouse nations of Western Europe including Germany (82 million), France (67), UK (66), Italy (60) and Spain (46) all lie well to the west of the proposed Austrian terminal. This summer the World Cup will be hosted by the Russian Federation and the government in Moscow has introduced a more liberal approach to visa regulations. Perhaps, another equally radical approach to logistics would open up a new and very radical approach to logistics that would benefit all those countries stretching from China in the East to Ireland in the West (…to be continued).
John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd.
07 March 2018
Copyright ©, 2018, John Keir