11 Apr 2019 12:12

Russian Railways can compete with truckers in distances up to 500 km - exec

MOSCOW. April 11 (Interfax) - Russian Railways (RZD) is not dead set on competing with the trucking industry, a senior executive at the company said.

"We see it as an ally and strive to build good cooperation in order to cover the 'last mile' for freight shippers. Our subsidiaries actively use this segment in deliveries from 'door to door,'" RZD deputy head and director of the company's Corporate Transport Services Center, Alexei Shilo said in an interview with Kommersant published on Thursday.

However, the competitiveness of railways "today is fairly high," he said. "While before they said that for distances of up to 1,500 km, of course, automobile transport wins, now we're capable of offering reasonable options even for delivery at distances of up to 500 km. Yes, we might grant a discount, but in return we get additional volume. There are such precedents, for example in shipments of ferrous metals and pipe products," Shilo said.

The Federal Statistics Service has reported that automobile shipments in Russia grew by 1.8% in 2018, while shipments by railway increased by 2.2%, he said.

"Everyone's telling us that you lost a lot of freight. But actually a lot of freight has not gone to automobile transport, but from the segment of boxcars, for example, and has appeared on the railway in the container segment. For example, chemicals, which were always shipped in boxcars, have now crossed over into 15% growth of container shipments. The same freight in a different package is being shipped by railroad," Shilo said.