RZD finds alternatives until new Russia-China railway bridge opens

Photo: Wikimedia Commons.Author: Pokorov roman4

Russian railways launched a new multimodal route a few days ago, crossing the Amur river on the border with China. The service links Chinese hubs with the Russian city of Samara via the Blagoveshchensk-Heihe bridge and includes a road and rail leg. Most importantly, it provides a look at the future and how a long-expected railway bridge could change transport between the two countries.

The new service is RZD’s attempt to “ensure trade between China and Russia, as well as create new supply chains,” commented the company on its Telegram profile. Specifically, for the new route, containers were transported via road from China to Blagoveshchensk in Russia, and cargo handling took place at the Kanikurgan terminal.

From there, fifty 40-foot containers continued their trip to Samara via rail carrying medical products. At the same time, RZD explained that the main demand in this direction focuses on consumer goods, food products and cosmetics.

What is important in this case is the utilisation of alternative border crossings between Russia and the Heilongjiang region in China. Traditionally, transportation takes place via the Suifenhe border crossing near Vladivostok. However, the need to cut down transit times and make links between the two leading economies more efficient focuses on crossing the Amur river.

Tongjiang-Nizhneleninskoye railway bridge

The latest service by RZD might not be purely rail oriented. Yet, it proves the critical role of the new Tongjiang-Nizhneleninskoye railway bridge linking the two countries, as it is expected to become operable anytime soon. Specifically, sources from China and Russia claim that it could open during August.

Construction of the bridge has been completed for over a year. However, the exact date of the opening has not been determined yet. The bridge is expected to shorten the trip between Heilongjiang and Moscow by 809 kilometres and save 10 hours of travel time when compared to the journey through the Suifenhe border crossing. In addition, earlier this year, a newly built facility for customs officers to conduct inspection and quarantine work was added on the Chinese side.

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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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