MOSCOW, December 24 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Railways has one of the highest levels of freight turnover in the world, the company’s President Vladimir Yakunin said.
The company increased the amount of traffic it carried in 2012. “With the 2.8 percent growth of Russia’s industrial production in 2012, estimates are that loading will increase by 2.7 percent to about 1.2747 billion tons. Freight turnover in 2012 is expected to reach 2.777 trillion ton-km, which is 2.7 percent more than in 2011. The proportion of Russia’s total freight turnover (excluding pipelines) accounted for by rail transport in the transport system increased to 85.5 percent. This is one of the highest rates in the world. The proportion of rail transport in the total freight turnover of major economies is higher only in China,” Yakunin said at an enlarged meeting of the company’s board of directors this week.
In 2012, container traffic totalled 3,000,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), which is almost 11 percent more than last year. The number of container trains increased by a factor of 1.2 to 7,500.
However, while Russian Railways achieved a quite significant increase in traffic volume indicators, the company’s contribution to Russia’s GDP fell from 1.81 percent in 2011 to 1.74 percent.
“This state of affairs demonstrates very graphically that as a result of the government regulation of tariffs, Russian Railways is seeing an ongoing and significant reduction of the traffic load on the economy and that conditions are being created for the development of other sectors of the economy due to the under-funding of country’s railway infrastructure,” Yakunin said.
Since the company’s foundation in 2003, prices have increased 3.4 times in industry, 5.5 times in the fuel industry, 3.6 times in the steel industry, but only 2.8 times in rail transport.
During this period, the transport component (in terms of Russian Railways) in iron has fallen by almost 32 percent, by 34 percent in crude oil, by 56 percent in fuel oil, by 24 percent in coking coal and by 17 percent in grain.
Currently, more than 1,700 companies own a fleet with a total of more than 1,150,000 wagons. Although freight turnover increase by 6 percent to the pre-crisis level of 2007, the wagon fleet has increased by more than 20 percent. As a result, the fleet has grown 3.5 times faster than the growth in transport operations. Experts estimate that there is a surplus of about 250,000 wagons.”
“We can see that, without effective action, even the most intensive increase in capacity will not lead to the required effect until we reach a reasonable level of rolling stock that meets the real needs for freight transportation,” Yakunin pointed out.
Following the company’s initiative, the Russian government issued a decree according to which Russian Railways leased 106,000 open-box cars from Federal Freight in 2012. The cars have begun operations and are in use as a multipurpose fleet.
Despite the fact that the leased fleet accounts for less than 10 percent of all the wagons on the rail network, this measure almost completely resolved the problems of small and medium-sized customers and facilitated a reduction in the market rates for the use of wagons, Yakunin said.