Kolyadichi intermodal terminal, source: Belintertrans

Several China-Russia-Belarus route points congested, delays persist

Image: Belintertrans

Border crossings and rail freight terminals on the China-Russia-Belarus route have faced or are beginning to face congestion issues that could cause considerable delays along the Silk Road’s northern passage.

Altynkol, Dostyk and Zamy-Uud border crossings on the way from China to Russia are the ones facing the main issues with congestion persisting. On the other hand, the Electrougli and Vorsino terminals in Moscow, Russia, and the Kolyadichi terminal in Minsk, Belarus, face the same issues that will result even in stopping receiving trains. Let’s take a closer look at the situation.

Border crossings manage relatively

As mentioned above, the Silk Road border crossings struggling currently are three. According to information from the logistics company Neptune Logistics, the congestion in Altynkol is now easing out. Yet, companies still feel its aftermath strongly since train reloading time can exceed twelve days. On top of that, the company informs that approximately “4,650 containers are waiting for reloading at the port”.

The situation is not so dramatic for the Zamyd-Uud border crossing in Inner Mongolia. The location is still experiencing some congestion that leads to delays of five or more days. The same delay times apply to the Dostyk station, which is congested mainly due to a “broken crane that slows down the reloading speed”, says Neptune Logistics.

Intense situation in Moscow region

According to Neptune Logistics, the main problem is located in Russia’s Moscow region, where multiple terminals are congested. Among them are the locations in Electrougli and Vorsino. In Electrougli, trains arriving at the station must wait outside the station for more than three days before entering. After that, it can take two or three days to complete the loading/unloading procedures.

In Vorsino, congestion is just starting to pick up, with a two-day waiting time outside the station and two-three days waiting time to complete procedures before leaving the terminal. However, the congestion forecast is not optimistic, and the location will stop receiving new trains from Khorgos and Alashankou between 1 and 15 January 2023 to avoid a further escalation of delays. Other sites in Moscow, like the Selyatino and Khovrino terminals, also deal with an average delay of three days; however, its impact is not so apparent.

Finally, the Kolyadichi terminal in the Mink area in Belarus is also affected by congestion, with waiting times outside and inside the location for roughly three days. Understandably, when some key locations along a route face issues, the whole supply chain can be affected. That is why Neptune Logistics advised companies to choose their end destinations in Russia and Belarus while ensuring “the accuracy of the documents on the vehicle before shipment and providing them in time to facilitate rapid customs clearance and avoid long waiting times or detention”.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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