JSC Ukrzaliznytsia notes a number of problems on the part of the transport system of European countries, which prevent increasing the volume of cargo transportation by rail from Ukraine to Europe.
“The set of technical problems is that the transport system of European countries is not technically ready to transport such large volumes. It needs additional rolling stock: wagons and locomotives,” Deputy Director of the Department of Commercial Work at Ukrzaliznytsia Valeriy Tkachev said at the “Economics of War: May Review and Focus on Infrastructure” conference.
According to him, today Ukrzaliznytsia transports cargo using only 2,000 wagons, or about 130,000 tonnes of cargo per day at the western border crossings, which is approximately equal to 3.8 million tonnes of cargo per month. At the same time, Ukrzaliznytsia’s own capacities allow using 3,422 railcars, or 220,000 tonnes per day.
According to the Ukrainian railway operator, the root of the problem is that the railway infrastructure of Ukraine and Europe is significantly different in gauge. And for the exchange of goods between these two infrastructures, there are only two ways: to reload at the border or to change the wagon bogie. At the same time, Ukrzaliznytsia said that there are not enough transshipment terminals.
“Besides, the most acute problem is the number of wagons on 1,435 mm European gauge track. That is, we, for our part, can transport a much larger volume of cargo, but there is a problem either with a lack of transshipment capacity, or a problem of the availability of European wagons,” Tkachev said.
He also said that there is another technical problem, which is that the infrastructure of European countries has a limited capacity, since it was built for the needs of intra-European transport.
“In Europe, the share of railway transportation of the overall structure of the transport system is 15-35%, while we have 65%. Therefore, the European infrastructure was not initially designed for such large volumes of cargo transportation by rail,” he said.
According to Tkachev, the growth rate of railway transportation is also affected by organizational issues of business, which for many years has been building supply chains towards ports and which now needs to reorient towards border railway crossings.
“Now we have already accumulated 34,000 wagons in the network, which are loaded and are waiting to cross the border,” Tkachev said.
In addition, the presence of a number of red tape procedures at the border, in particular, repetitive procedures of phytosanitary and veterinary control, significantly slows down cargo transportation.
At the same time, the growth in railway transportation continues to recover: according to Tkachev, Ukrzaliznytsia transported 416,000 tonnes of agricultural products in March, and 638,000 tonnes in April. The goal of Ukrzaliznytsia is to reach 1-1.5 million tonnes per month of export of grain products.