18 May 2022 12:51

Ukrzaliznytsia points to problems experienced by EU transport network while carrying cargo from Ukraine

KYIV. May 18 (Interfax-Ukraine) - Ukrainian Railways (Ukrzaliznytsia) has pointed to certain problems experienced by the EU transport network, which prevent an increase in cargo transportation from Ukraine to Europe by rail.

"The transport network of European countries is technically unprepared to carry such large amounts. It needs additional rolling stock: carriages and engines. They also need to build additional tracks to carry these large amounts of cargo," Deputy Director of the Ukrzaliznytsia Commercial Affairs Department Valery Tkachev said at a virtual conference.

For now, Ukrzaliznytsia operates only 2,000 carriages transporting approximately 130,000 tonnes of cargo per day through Western border checkpoints, which is about 3.8 million tonnes of cargo per month, he said, adding that the company is capable of operating 3,422 carriages transporting 220,000 tonnes of cargo per day.

Ukrzaliznytsia explains the problem with a significant difference in the track width in Ukraine and Europe. There are just two ways to exchange cargo between the two infrastructures: cargo could be reloaded on the border or carriage wheels could be replaced. The company also noted a shortage of transshipment terminals.

"Besides, the most pressing problem is the number of carriages that fit the European track, 1,435. I mean we can transport much more cargo on our side, but there is a problem of a deficit of transshipment facilities and European-type carriages," Tkachev said.

There is yet another technical problem: the European infrastructure has a limited capacity, as it was designed to accommodate European needs, he said.

"Railroads account for 15-35% of the entire transportation amount in Europe, and the share reaches 65% here. Therefore, the European infrastructure was not designed to carry so much cargo by rail," Tkachev said.

Organizational aspects of businesses, which have been supplying cargo to ports for years and now need to reroute the cargo to rail checkpoints on the border, are also slowing down the growth in rail transportation, he said.

"Some 34,000 carriages are on standby on our side, they are loaded and waiting for their turn to cross the border," Tkachev said.

The bureaucratic procedures on the border, including phyto-sanitary and veterinarian control procedures that repeat themselves, are also considerably slowing down the transportation of cargo.

Nonetheless, the growth of rail transportation is continuing: Ukrzaliznytsia transported 416,000 of agricultural products in March and 638,000 tonnes in April, Tkachev said. The goal is to achieve the monthly transportation of 1 million to 1.5 million tonnes of grain for exports.