Monday, September 24, 2012

Russian Intermodal Deal Proceeds as Rail Freight Conference Sees Bigger Cargo Wagons

RzD at the Centre of InnoTrans 2012
Shipping News Feature

RUSSIA – GERMANY – Much happening in the Russian rail freight sector at the moment with the news that two offers seem to be on the table for the remaining 25% holding in Freight One due to be sold off by state carrier Russian Railways (RzD). Sistema is said to be ready to bid for the share in the cargo carrier and will apparently be up against UCL Holdings which already owns the remainder of stock in the intermodal group.

If successful this will be the first such major investment by Sistema, which has interests in many fields from telecoms to banking, construction and oil trading. The group is controlled by billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov and trades on the London Exchange as the largest Russian publicly listed investment group. A year ago we told how Vladimir Lisin, even wealthier than Yevtushenkov, grabbed the controlling interest in Freight One and now it seems he wants the balance in what both parties consider a vehicle likely to see rapid growth.

Last week at that InnoTrans 2012 International Fair, the rail conference held in Berlin which attracts all the heavy hitters in the sector, Russian Railways, Freight One (PGK) and Tatravangonka signed an agreement for the construction of a tri-axle freight coach with an axle load of 25 tonnes, comparing favourably to the current Russian Railway network which mainly operates coaches with an axle load of 23.5 tonnes. It is hoped the extra load capability will increase the efficiency of rolling stock and railway transport infrastructure.

The agreement was signed by Senior Vice-President of JSC Russian Railways Valentin Gapanovich, Deputy CEO of Freight One Sergey Kaletin and Chairman of the Board of JSC Tatravagonka Alexey Belyaev during the Railway Engineering conference. The cooperation will see the development, engineering and construction of prototypes and organisation of testing, certification and transferring the truck into full operation.

Tatravangonka and Rzd also discussed the cooperation that has seen the implementation of 80 multiple unit platforms for the transportation of two 45-feet containers simultaneously. With permission to run in Belarus and Kazakhstan anticipated the number of such units is expected to increase to 300.

Also at the conference Russian Railways and Tatravagonka signed a separate agreement for the development and production of rail transporters with the lifting capacity of up to 500 tonnes for the transportation of heavy and oversized cargo whilst at an executive level Russian and German representatives agreed to maintain closer ties with regard to railway industry enterprises and transport machine building plants sharing information on each others national technical regulations and legislation, and helping to establish contacts between potential partners for cooperation, including in scientific and technological matters.

Photo: The range of wagon types on the Russian rail system is vast.