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Testing new routes

The number of cities from where local producers of goods can send cargoes by rail to Russia is growing in China
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The SWIFT transport company has organized two pilot container trains from the Celestial Empire to Russia. Now the company intends to organize container delivery by the new routes on a regular basis. 

The Chinese city of Shenyang (Liaoning Province) became a new departure point for trains. The first train left China on August 16 and arrived at its destination, Yekaterinburg, on the 30th. The destination point of the second train was St. Petersburg, where it arrived on September 1 (date of departure - August 19). The transit time was about 14 days. Both trains entered Russia through the Suifenhe (PRC) - Grodekovo (RF) border crossing.

The trains carried 50 FEUs (forty-foot equivalent units) each and delivered a variety of Chinese consumer goods.

The cargo consisted of consumer goods of Chinese origin.

“So far we have organized test shipments. I would like to point out that our company's representatives from the Chinese SWIFT office were responsible for transporting the containers through the territory of China,” Alexander Podylov, Managing Director of Swift-Rus, told 1520international.  “Preliminarily, we can say that everything went as planned”.

According to the Institute for Transport Economics and Development, the import of containers through the railway checkpoints of the Eastern polygon of Russian Railways' network in the last eight months amounted to 187,000 TEUs, or 9% higher than in the same period of 2021.

“Major Russian container operators are opening new services in the eastern direction to compensate for the dropped out volumes of traffic through the ports in the Gulf of Finland,” says Andrey Tikhomirov, head of the macroeconomics and forecasting methodology department of IERT JSC.

He also notes that Liaoning province is one of Chinese industrial centers with manufacturing facilities of heavy engineering, automotive, food and chemical industries. Relatively close proximity of Shenyang to railway checkpoints of the Eastern polygon of the Russian railway network allows organizing exit of container trains to the Trans-Siberian Railway and delivering containerized cargoes to the final recipient in a short time.

Alexei Bezborodov, General Director of the InfraNews research agency, believes that new cargo shipment locations in the Celestial Empire will be opening on a weekly basis. Chinese partners are expanding their logistics network and filling Chinese railway terminals with cargo.

“There are hundreds of manufacturers in the PRC who want to ship their products abroad and, accordingly, it is more convenient for them to use the nearest terminals for this purpose. The trend of opening new points of departure of container trains in China will continue. The more locations for consolidation of the cargo base and dispatch of containers, the more extensive the network and more reliable delivery of goods,” says Alexei Bezborodov.

SWIFT experts are now analyzing the results of train dispatches from Shenyang.

“The cargo base and demand for delivery by these routes allow opening a regular service as early as in September”, specifies Alexander Podylov.

It should be noted that from January to July of the current year, trade turnover between Russia and China amounted to $97.7 billion, or 29.9% more than in the same period last year. This figure was announced by Chinese Ambassador to the Russian Federation Zhang Hanhui, speaking by video link at the session entitled “Russian-Chinese cooperation in the new era”, held on the margins of the “Eastern Economic Forum – 2022”.

“For twelve years, China has been Russia's main partner,” said Zhang Hanhui.  The Chinese diplomatic mission in Russia will continue doing everything to ensure that the relations between the two countries “advance to new heights in the new era”.

Sergei Volkov

18 September 2022

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