This company takes the less-travelled route, and makes it a success
How can rail freight transport get the most out of 2021? RTSB believes that the sector should build around two pillars: consistent advertising of rail products and optimisation of processes. Together with the development of new products, these are the focal points of the railway operator, according to its Business Development Director, Kateryna Negrieieva.
In an interview with RailFreight.com Negrieieva pointed out RTSB’s aspirations and expansion plans for the European Year of Rail. The company prioritises the digitalisation of its services and the seamless operation along Eurasian corridors. Additionally, it has new products underway that will draw attention.
Increased traffic in Eurasian transportation during 2020 worked as a motivation for RTSB to focus more on improving its products. “Decreasing transit times, simplifying processes through digitalisation, and extending capacities are our primary goals”, said Negrieieva.
For these developments, it is also critical to optimise border processes. That is why the company aims to work closely with the state railways of Poland, Belarus and Russia and enable smoother customs procedures on this corridor. Border procedures between China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia will be equally important since the railway operator uses their infrastructure a great deal.
To realise the goals mentioned above, RTSB is already working on the implementation of solutions. Specifically, the company is developing a solution to “enable a transparent flow of real-time information, and a paperless, fully digital documentation between carriers and customs authorities”, said Negrieieva.
The company and its carrier ERC already conducted trial sessions with digitally signed documents (SMGS), that got certified and transferred between Poland and Belarus’s customs authorities via a company owned digital interface. RTSB plans to introduce this new service and extend it to all accompanying documents after further testing.
Together with digitalisation developments, the rail forwarder works on optimising its existing products and introducing new ones. RTSB has shown its interest in less popular routes before and is willing to use them further to consolidate additional volumes, mentioned Negrieieva.
For instance, the successful multimodal route via Kaliningrad will acquire an extended sea leg and increased vessel capacities due to additional sea links to Scandinavia and Great Britain. In this way, the enclave port could embrace its hub character.
Moreover, Ukraine will also be at the forefront of developments. RTSB will optimise its Slawkow service via Izov and enable eastbound cargo shipments through the Eastern-European country. Additionally, another service in the pipeline will connect Ukraine with Budapest and the broader eastern Europe through Chop at the Ukraine-Hungary border.
Finally, Τurkey, and the connections it offers to China through the Middle Corridor, seem to strengthen its positioning in Eurasian transport. RTSB acknowledges the country’s potential as a cross-road and is willing to invest by establishing frequent round trips to Turkey.
Consistent promotion of rail
Looking into the overall situation of rail freight, RTSB believes that the sector lacks good advertising. Rail transport products are still unknown to a large proportion of possible customers. On the other hand, even customers that are, more or less, aware of what rail can offer do not prefer it because they don’t trust it yet.
This view is in accordance with other voices raised in the sector, warning about the possible impact of miscommunications in the industry. Consequently, cooperation is critical to raise awareness around rail freight’s benefits concerning reliability and financial competitiveness. That is the only way for the sector’s components to reach their goals, individually and collectively.