Ukrainian Railways auctions export services with retrofitted equipment
To stimulate grain exports via rail, Ukrainian Railways held an auction to sell transport services for company-owned grain wagons retrofitted for transportation in a 1,435 mm gauge. The auction took place on 5 October, and the objective was to provide more favourable prices for the bidders. The auctioned services concerned rail links to Romania and Poland, specifically through the Vadul-Siret, Dyakovo and Mostyska-2, Yagodyn border crossings.
Ukrainian railways mentioned that it implemented a ‘Dutch auction’ with the starting price for using its wagons set at 600 UAH per day (15,60 euros) and with the minimum possible charge set at 204 UAH per day (5,30 euros). These prices were based on transport fees within Ukraine, while international transit prices will be adjusted and made competitive in coordination with UZ Cargo Poland, the Polish subsidiary of Ukrainian Railways. UZ Cargo Poland will have a central role in these services since the winning bidders must conclude a contract with it to carry out the transport.
Not only for grain
“Currently, UZ Cargo Poland has signed contracts with five customers to use UZ wagons with 1,435 trolleys. All freight owners have equal access to the service of transporting goods in wagons of Ukrzaliznytsia, including abroad. At the same time, large private cargo owners give their wagons only for transporting their cargo. In this way, we do not limit the export of Ukrainian goods by railway transport, but on the contrary, we offer the market a competitive service”, commented Vyacheslav Yeremin, a member of the company’s board of directors.
The Ukrainian state-owned company has been attempting to retrofit parts of its fleet for operations on 1,435 mm gauge since the beginning of the war. The main target is retrofitting bogies. According to data from Ukrainian Railways, the company currently owns 1,810 working bogies for the 1,435 mm gauge, meaning they are enough to convert about 905 wagons to European gauge. However, these wagons are insufficient to cover the needs of Ukrainian Railways, which faces substantial equipment shortages. “Private car owners can manufacture or buy European bogies and continue to use our interchange points. The bogies will only be leased if the company has the capacity to do so,” highlighted Yeremin.