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Carriage in one lot

A trusted digital environment is being created in the 1520 space to organize seamless transit through the territories of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Belarus
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The changed conditions for operators and cargo owners in the railway transportation market during the COVID-19 pandemic prompted companies to make more active use of digital technologies. For this purpose, there is an electronic trading platform "Cargo Transportation" on the Russian market, which is managed by Digital Logistics LLC. "1520. International" has learned about the most popular services of the platform, as well as the company's plans for their development.

As Alexander Voroshnin, deputy head for the development of transport and logistics activities of Russian Railways’ Center for Corporate Transportation Services, told “1520. International”, today the Cargo Transportation electronic trading platform is the only platform offering the possibility to order transportation services in a fully digital format.

"The need for this platform is due to the fact that though a cargo owner may have no unified personal account or contracts with rolling stock operators, he still has the opportunity to order cargo transportation services electronically", adds Alexander Voroshnin.

The platform implements all transportation organizing stages digitally, from ordering a service to receiving accounting documents after the service has been provided. Thus, the cargo owner first orders transportation, then chooses an option of its organization, and then pays for his order and monitors its performance in his personal office. The customer works with the platform's services using only a computer or a phone, without any help of managers. The status of all order processing operations is reflected in the customer’s personal office.

According to Nikolay Rezvov, General Director of Digital Logistics (a joint venture between Russian Railways and INTELEX LLC), some 130 carriers, operators and owners of rolling stock, warehouse infrastructure operators, the Federal State Enterprise "Departmental Protection of Railway Transport of Russia" as well as financial institutions and insurance companies are already connected to the platform as service providers.

"Today we have about 8,000 registered users and, as of the end of 2021, we organized more than 240,000 railcar shipments," notes Nikolay Rezvov.

One of the most popular services of the Cargo Transportation electronic trading platform is trading lots for the use of rolling stock of a particular owner (bidders interested in rolling stock participate in "upwards" bidding for lots - Ed.). Lots of boxcars and gondola cars are traded most often; also the possibility of placing lots of fitting platforms is being developed. Most of the auctions are held in the "hammer mode".

"Last year Federal Freight Company JSC loaded some 40,000 gondola cars under the "Rolling Stock Lots" service, Denis Katkov, Head of the Sales of Federal Freight Company, told "1520. International".

According to Digital Logistics LLC, often the lot price can change dramatically. For example, for rolling stock lots intended for Sverdlovsk Railways, bidders make up to 130 bids, and the final price of a lot can exceed the initial one by 2-3 times.

Alexander Voroshnin notes that the company plans to introduce a new service, Cargo Lots. In contrast to the already proven "Rolling Stock Lots" service, where participants are offered to raffle off the opportunity to use cars, it is planned to put cargoes in industrial volumes at the auction. "If this opportunity is realized, the platform will become more popular for our customers - cargo owners who are interested in getting the most profitable offers for transportation. In this case, it will be “downwards” bidding. We plan to test the service in the first half of 2022", adds Nikolay Rezvov.

One of Digital Logistics' priorities in improving the Cargo Transportation electronic trading platform is the creation and support of services for small and medium-sized businesses. To this end, since August 2021, a joint project has been implemented on the platform in cooperation with Federal Freight Company, organized on behalf of Russian Railways.

As Viktor Voronovich, Federal Freight Company CEO, reported earlier, against the background of increased demand for gondola cars the company decided to redistribute part of the loading resources from the large consignors of goods to small businesses.

"Such redistribution will have practically no effect on the activities of big business, while small and medium-sized customers are guaranteed to receive rolling stock for their needs," added Viktor Voronovich.

Each month Federal Freight Company provides up to 3,000 cars with a limit of up to 10 cars per small business. The joint service is used by more than 320 companies monthly.

According to Denis Katkov, from September to December 2021, Federal Freight Company offered 11,200 gondola cars, with more than 1,400 customers placing orders. "We also plan to attract other large operators and rolling stock owners as suppliers for small enterprises," added Nikolay Rezvov.

In the near future, Digital Logistics LLC intends to organize cargo delivery by automobile transport (for distances of 20-40 km) on the Cargo Transportation electronic trading platform as an element of multimodality and to ensure door-to-door cargo delivery. To expand this service, the company, together with Russian Railways’ Central Directorate for Managing the Terminal and Warehouse Complex, plans to use the terminal facilities of the network.

As Alexander Voroshnin believes, a promising service of the platform is organization of international transportation with forwarding on the neighboring territory. Nikolay Rezvov notes that development of international transportation is a rather complicated area, due to differences in legislation and requirements to the transportation process.

"As concern foreign territories, the relationship with the Republic of Belarus has already been built, and a pilot shipment in the export direction has been performed," adds the CEO of Digital Logistics LLC. "We are building cooperation with Kazakhstan; however, not all users there can use the electronic document management system, a fact that complicates the process. Our goal is to create a trusted digital environment for the organization of railway transportation through the territory of the Republic of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia for seamless digital transit traffic. We hope that in the first half of the year we will already be able to provide the market with an opportunity to manage empty cars on the territory of the Republic of Belarus."

By developing the services of the Cargo Transportation electronic trading platform, Digital Logistics LLC seeks to simplify access to rail transportation services and make them convenient for customers, says Nikolay Rezvov. "This will ultimately have an impact on increasing the competitiveness of rail transport," he concludes.

 Anna Yakusheva

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