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Russian Railways, OJSC, is building up its export traffic to ports

Terminals in the Russian Northeast are exhibiting particular dynamics
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Export cargo transported by the Russian Railways, OJSC, network to Russia’s sea ports over the first 10 months of 2023 totaled 279.3 million tons, which is 1.8% more than over that period last year. North-western Russian ports are the national leaders in export cargo traffic. The region’s uptick in grain, chemical, and fertilizer export shipments is believed to be a result of the current market conditions and demand among foreign consumers. 

Over January to October 2023, the Northwestern ports (including via the port stations of the Oktyabrskaya, Severnaya, and Kaliningradskaya Railways) 109.2 million tons of various export cargos have been sent by rail, which is 4.8% more than over those months last year.

The ports of the Far East have sent off 94.8 million tons of cargo (this figure has grown by 0.2% year-on-year) while the ports of the South (including via the port stations of the North Caucasus and Privolzhskaya Railways) have sent off 75.4 million tons, which is 0.4% less than over the same period in 2022.

Over the first 10 months of this year, export shipments of the following nomenclatures have increased: grain (a 2.2-fold increase, to 12 million tons), chemicals and baking soda (a 1.8-fold rise, to 2.2 million tons), fertilizers (rose by 8.5%, to 20.4 million tons), and coal (a 0.8% increase, to 150.9 million tons). Overall goods traffic is dominated by coal (54%), oil goods (20.9%), fertilizers (7.3%), ferrous metals (5.1%), grain (4.3%), and ore (1.7%).

As FINAM Management Financial Holding Company’s leading expert Dmitry Baranov puts it, the increase in the export shipments of grain, chemicals, and fertilizers may been brought about by foreign trade’s reorientation to countries of the East and South, where such goods are in strong demand and at the same time their stock is insufficient and is in need of replenishment.

“The increase in shipments could also have been influenced by market conditions and consumer fears that prices for these goods may rise in the near future: this urged them to increase their procurements in Russia. Consequently, there is now an increase in the traffic of goods to the ports to be further exported from there,” the expert noted.

It is worth mentioning that Russia’s Northwestern ports are experiencing an increase in the shipping of coal (up 9.3%, to 46.9 million tons), fertilizers (a 12.6% rise, to 17.2 million tons), chemicals (a 40.7% jump, to 1 million tons), and grain (a 7.7-fold leap, to 500 thousand tons).

According to Dmitry Baranov, these dynamics may owe to changing logistics, emerging new routes to the ports from other countries, as well as to attractive shipping tariffs and pricing offered by the terminals themselves.

Changing dynamics among goods traffic to the ports of the Far East, in turn, is caused by the heavy burden on them, as well as competition from ports in other Russian regions. “The increase in goods traffic may be partly have to do with the pressure on the railways, first and foremost on the Eastern polygon,” Dmitry Baranov explains.

Head of the Russian Grain Union Arkady Zlochevsky told “Gudok” that Russian Railways, OJSC’s level of interaction with the seaports is said to be optimal at the moment. “This season’s rail shipment of grain is outpacing last season. Things are looking up,” he added.

Sergei Sokolov, Vice president and Chairman of “Opora Russia’s” commission on the development of the grain complex, in turn, says that the volume of export grain shipments in the direction of the North-East ports, including the start of the port Vysotsk, has recently skyrocketed.

“However, the most prospective direction regarding the development pace of export grain shipments is China and the Far East ports in terms of containers cargo shipments. Significant increases in shipments to the east of the country have been registered for shipments from Siberia and Ural. The pace from those regions has picked up by 40%,” the expert summarized.

Olga Shelkova


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