News

27.08.2021

EAEU government meeting commits to Eurasian transit routes and sustainability of rail transport

In the presence of the heads of government of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, a declaration of intent concerning support for sustainable Eurasian transit routes and rail transport between the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) was signed in Kyrgyzstan on 20th August. The document bears the signatures of Oleg Belozerov, Director and CEO of the Russian Railways (RZD), Nurlan Sauranbaev, CEO of the Kazakh Railway Company (Kazakhstan Temir Zholy) and the Director of the Belarusian Railway Vladimir Morozov. The declaration marked the clear commitment of the parties to the joint project UTLC ERA (United Transport and Logistics Company – Eurasian Rail Alliance) and pointed the way for its further development. 

The parties have set down in writing their joint desire to provide fresh impetus for supporting effective container transport services between Europe and China and their digitisation. The aim is to further increase capacities in goods transport by rail and to enable the introduction of new technologies across the entire EAEU area. 

As part of this agreement, the parties emphasised the particular importance of the joint transport and logistics project UTLC ERA for Eurasian transit routes and promised the company their continued support. Accordingly, it is planned that the joint Russian-Kazakh-Belarusian company, which transports almost 90 per cent of transit freight on regular container trains between China and Europe on 1520 mm broad-gauge tracks, should become the driving force behind the digitisation processes in the area of sustainable transport and logistics within the EAEU. Specifically, this means that UTLC ERA is going to contribute to the introduction of a unified EAEU procedure for goods transit. The parties intend that the measures planned should be implemented without creating additional costs for the customer. 

The document regards digital transformation and the introduction of technological innovation as key factors in improving operational efficiency and reducing transaction costs for the entire Eurasian transport sector. Particular consideration is given to improving the environmental performance of rail transport and to carbon-free rail logistics in order to make rail more attractive for goods transport. 

At the signing of the document, Alexei Grom, CEO of UTLC ERA, stressed in his comments that digitisation is of particular importance in rail transport and offered to use his company for pilot projects: “Today, rail transport has a key role to play, particularly with regard to reducing COemissions and environmental pollution. By way of reinforcing these advantages, we would be prepared to run pioneering pilot projects and to implement innovative technological solutions on the railways in order to drive forward not just Eurasian transit routes but the entire supply chain between China and Europe. Together with our partners and EAEU neighbours, we are on the brink of introducing a unified waybill. I believe that the year 2022 will mark a breakthrough in the digitisation of rail services.”

UTLC ERA

The joint stock corporation “United Transport and Logistics Company – Eurasian Rail Alliance” (UTLC ERA) is a provider of container transport services by rail between Europe and China and vice versa. The company was founded by the Russian Railways RZD, the Belarusian Railways and the Kazakhstan Railway Company, with each of the three founding partners holding an equal share of 33.33% in the company. 

The company transports almost 90 per cent of transit freight through the territories of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus on regular container trains between China and Europe on 1520 mm broad-gauge tracks. In 2020, the volume of goods transported by UTLC ERA amounted to 547,000 TEU (an increase of 60% compared to 2019). In the first six months of 2021, 200,200 TEU were transported towards Europe, an increase of 42 per cent compared to the previous year.