1 Jun 2022 09:50

Russian Railways sees no shortage of empty containers in Russia

MOSCOW. June 1 (Interfax) - There is no shortage of empty containers on the Russian freight transport market at the moment, Russian Railways (RZD) deputy CEO Alexei Shilo said at a transport and logistics conference in Ufa on Tuesday.

"I can say for certain that today we have enough empty containers on the market in order to fully meet the needs of the economy. Internal Russian shipments are not even an issue. As for export and import shipments, we believe that a balance is now falling into place and I'd probably ask our container operators to also watch carefully here," Shilo, who is also head of RZD's Center for Corporate Transportation Services, said.

He said the situation could evolve and a scenario where there is a shortage of containers is possible.

"Many container operators and RZD subsidiaries are now working on buying empty containers in order to fully create a reserve and eliminate all negative scenarios. According to my information, there are more than 50,000 containers there. We will certainly acquire all of them this year in order to cover all of the economy's needs," Shilo said.

The director of sales and customer service at TransContainer , Nikita Pushkarev said that exporters could face a shortage of containers if the ruble weakens.

"At the ruble's current exchange rate there could be a drop in exports, in which case there will be enough containers. But if the exchange rate returns to January figures, exporters will face a shortage of equipment. In order to avoid this situation, TransContainer and other operators are expanding the fleet," Pushkarev said.

Conference participants also raised the question of foreign currency payments on charges for transit shipments through various countries. Shilo said a switch to settlements in national currencies for container transit can be discussed, but it is necessary to factor in uncertainty regarding exchange rate differences.