Russian container train near Lake Baikal, source: Russian Railways (RZD)

Russian Railways wants more transit containers from China via Mongolia

Russian Railways’ subsidiary RZD intends to increase the volume of containers running from China to Europe via Mongolia. To this end, the Russian company will modernise the rail infrastructure in the neighbouring country and supply new freight locomotives.

“We are strongly interested in the development of transit volumes via Mongolia”, RZD’s CEO Oleg Belozerov said during recent Russian-Mongolian negotiations. According to him, both parties should develop a common action plan for improving the infrastructure of Ulaanbaatar Railway, a joint venture of Russia and Mongolia that operates the rail network in the Asian country.

Measures

For its part, Russian Railways has already approved the priority measures for modernisation and development of the Mongolian network by 2030. It includes tracks upgrades and the delivery of new freight locomotives. The chairman also mentioned that a new railway crossing is being planned on the Mongolian-Chinese border. This will facilitate container traffic from/to China.

Moreover, Russia is discussing with the neighbouring country the possibility to transport Mongolian coal to the seaports of the Russian Far East. Last year, the parties already signed a cooperation agreement on this matter. RZD has developed attractive rates for rail transportation of coal from Mongolia to Russia.

Transit options Mongolia

Mongolia joined the New Silk Road in 2016 when Russia and China agreed to establish a freight corridor via this country. Now, several container trains from China to Russia and Europe transit through the country. The Russian city of Ekaterinburg has two rail freight links with China via Mongolia. Far East Land Bridge (FELB), a subsidiary of RZD Logistics, also provides a container service from Changsha to Dobra, Slovakia, running through Mongolia.

Moreover, Belarus has a direct freight train to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Last year, Ulaanbaatar Railway carried 25.7 million tonnes of cargo. It was a historical figure that showed a growth of 13 per cent compared to 2017. The transit freight volumes running via Mongolia increased by 9 per cent and reached 3.37 million tonnes.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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