11 Aug 2022 12:05

Russian Railways, Torgmoll launch China-Russia freight service in Amur region

BLAGOVESCHENSK. Aug 11 (Interfax) - A new multimodal service has been launched in Amur Region to ship freight from China to Russian regions across the new Blagoveschensk-Heihe automobile bridge and by railway, an Interfax correspondent reported.

The first container train was dispatched from Blagoveschensk to Samara on Thursday as part of the new service. The route was organized by RZD Business Asset, a division of Russian Railways (RZD) subsidiary RZD Logistics, the Kanikurgan customs and logistics terminal and Chinese transport company Torgmoll.

The train will deliver 50 containers on 31 80-foot railcars in nine days, RZD Business Asset acting sales director Anton Tikhonov told Interfax.

"We plan to organize a weekly service, meaning departure of one container train per week. Shipments will be to all regions of Russia. The freight is consumer goods, auto parts, construction materials and so on," Tikhonov said.

Putting together the train, including shipment across the bridge, customs clearance at the Kurgan terminal and loading onto flatcars took about a week. In future, there are plans for freight shipments in the opposite direction, from Russia to China.

The multimodal service plans to send the first freight shipment to China in mid-September, Torgmoll director Jing Ke told Interfax. The train will run from Moscow Region to Blagoveschensk and then the freight will be delivered over the bridge by truck to Heihe, he said, adding that the freight is ready for shipment but waiting for approvals.

He said the throughput capacity of the railway terminal in Blagoveschensk cannot yet accommodate more freight traffic.

"We calculated that we can ship at least 62 containers from China every day, but they're not ready to receive them here [in Blagoveschensk]. If I'm not mistaken, they can only process one train a week here. We're prepared to invest in developing the terminal in your region, because there is strong demand on the part of shippers. We have even started working out the possibility of shipping through Khabarovsk. This is not very lucrative, but the capabilities of the terminal there are greater," Jing Ke said.

The CEO of the Agency for Development of Project Initiatives, Valery Repkov told Interfax that the Kurgan terminal is currently operating under a temporary arrangement, but is managing the current freight traffic.

"We can let through about 60 automobiles, but at the moment we don't even have such volume. The terminal is not operating at 100%. It is in the process of rollout, fine-tuning inspection processes. The main issues at this point are related to quarantine restrictions on the Chinese side. There are no obstacles on our side. We're finishing construction this year," Repkov said.

The deputy chairman of the regional government, Pavel Puzanov said at the ceremony to mark the departure of the first train that, given the growth of freight traffic between the two countries, the new multimodal service has given participants in foreign trade an alternative option for shipping freight from China along the Trans-Siberian Railway.

The new Blagoveschensk-Heihe automobile bridge opened on June 10 after two years sitting idle due to quarantine restrictions. At present, it only serves trucks. There was no toll during the trial period, but a toll for using the bridge went into effect on August 10. The bridge was built under a concession, and the toll is a means of recovering the investment. At full capacity, the project calls for handling 630 trucks, 164 buses and 68 cars daily.