Transit commitment aiming for growth: UTLC ERA shareholders set goal to ship 1 mln containers a year

Nur-Sultan, May 20, 2019 – Alexey Grom, President of the Joint stock company "United Transport and Logistics Company – Eurasian Rail Alliance” (UTLC ERA) has announced plans to increase container transit through Kazakhstan up to 1 million TEU a year in 2020–24. This will be made possible due to the digitalization and optimization of cargo transport on the 1520 mm railway gauge and the increase of freight traffic on China – Europe – China routes within the "One million club" initiative realized together with UTLC ERA shareholders, partners and customers. At the moment the company is actively engaged with its clients to develop and expand the types of goods transported from Europe to China.


The total amount of container transport on China – Europe – China routes reached approximately 102 thousand TEU in the first four months of 2019, about a 16% increase to the same period of the previous year (YTY). Out of this gross volume UTLC ERA shipments accounted for about 85 thousand TEU, a 45% increase YTY. This while the overall transit volume had decreased on competing railway corridors on the 1520 gauge.

“The transit potential of Kazakhstan is the most important part of the national development strategy. UTLC ERA and Kazakhstan Railroads are realizing a comprehensive plan to develop transit across the 1520 gauge due to the optimization of dead mileage, transport planning and also the coordinated tariff policy of EAEU countries without cutting tariffs for transit across Kazakhstan. Now, our trains move with a speed of 1,020 km/day, which is 74 km/day more than in the previous year. During the current year we plan to accelerate up to 1,073 km/day. It will mean for the customer that cargo will get from one part of Eurasia to another even quicker. Can you imagine it? 5,500 km in four and a half days – from the border with China to the border with the EU. We – Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus – have come to understand that more can be achieved when we work together,” – said Alexey Grom. 

According to company data, median carriage load has decreased on all Eurasian transport corridors in 2018 with the notable exception of routes operated by UTLC ERA: by the end of last year the company managed to increase carriage load going from Europe to China on par with Chinese backhaul load. It was traditionally assumed that carriages going from Europe to China could be loaded no more than 50% of the return route. This was accomplished thanks to the successful work with European manufacturers, optimising business processes and expanding the types of exported goods to include less expensive bulk items (foodstuffs, cellulose, etc.).

Today the company works on 57 routes from China to Europe. In 2019 four new European destinations were opened: Neumarkt, Barcelona, Bremerhaven, and Luxembourg. In the first four months of 2019 the average transit time on the China – Europe – China route was reduced by 14% as compared to 2018 and took just over five days. In 2019 UTLC ERA and Kazakhstan Railroads have already reduced the average transit time the China – Europe – China route by 29%, and now it takes cargo trains two and a half days instead of three to go across Kazakhstan.