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Russian Railways Launches New Rail Freight Service from Japan to Europe

JSC Russian Railways Logistics, which is a subsidiary of Russian Railways, and FESCO Transport Group have launched the Trans-Siberian Landbridge joint transit service. The goal is to speed up the delivery of goods from Japan to Europe. This service will run through Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

The partners shipped a test container on 23 May. Departing the Japanese port of Yokohama, the event took place in the presence of Alexander Misharin, the First Deputy Director of Russian Railways JSC.

Freight train in Russia
Freight train in Russia © Vadim Anokhin under licence

The Trans-Siberian Landbridge

The Trans-Siberian Landbridge is an intermodal transport chain that starts at Yokohama Port. The first leg is by ship to Vladivostok Commercial Port in eastern Russia. The cargo is then loaded on to the Trans-Siberian Railway and transported to Brest (western Belarus). The final destination of the test container is Europe. Russian Railways estimates the journey will take 19 days. To compare, sending the same container via ship through the Suez Canal would take 45 days. The test container is carrying non-hazardous chemical products. It will arrive in the Polish city of Wroclaw, Poland, in mid-June.

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Division of Labour

FESCO will provide sea delivery, port handling and the container fleet. Russian Railways Logistics, meanwhile, will oversee all aspects of the rail transport. Following this test case, the two companies will make this service available to customers from June 2019 onwards. They will also organise a cargo transport in the opposite direction.

Alexander Misharin said:

“Today we are opening a new page in our cooperation with Japanese business with a new unique product. We have an agreement with the Ministry of Transport of Japan to jointly develop multimodal transportation through the Far Eastern ports of Russia and the Trans-Siberian. Over the past five years, Russian Railways has invested more than $5 billion in the development of railways in eastern Russia, while transportation along this route has grown by more than a third over this time. We see a very large potential for cooperation with our Japanese colleagues and would like to use this infrastructure for the transportation of goods from Japan as well.”

Alexander Isurin, President of FESCO, said:

“Today, all the freight traffic between Japan and Europe, amounting to 3 million TEU per year, goes through the Suez Canal, and we, together with colleagues from Russian Railways, can offer our customers much faster and more efficient services on the Trans-Siberian. Bringing transit cargo to Russian infrastructure corresponds to both national strategic goals and the objective economic interests of everyone participating in the market. I am sure that Trans-Siberian Landbridge will be in demand by our Japanese partners and will help strengthen and expand our mutually beneficial cooperation with them.”

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