The loading of Russian Railways in the first half of the year continued to grow, albeit at a slow pace

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The loading of Russian Railways in the first half of the year continued to grow, albeit slightly – by 0.7%. It also increased in June. At Russian Railways, where they initially expected a 2.5% decrease in loading by the end of 2023, in the spring they began to focus on at least maintaining indicators. Analysts believe that there is room for growth if problems that have increased this year, such as declining technical readiness of locomotives with imported parts, terrorist activity and increased construction work, do not become serious deterrents.

JSC Russian Railways reportedthat loading on the railway network of the Russian Federation in January-June showed an increase of 0.7% year-on-year, amounting to 619.1 million tons. In June, there was also an increase – by 1.4%, to 101.4 million tons. These results are better than in the first five months, but slightly worse on a monthly basis than in March, April and May.

In share terms, grain loading grew the most — by 43.3% compared to the first half of 2022 and by 22.8% compared to January-June 2021, to 15.1 million tons. In June, 2.3 million tons of grain were loaded, which is 76.9% more than in June 2022. Also, for the first half of the year, the loading of coke (by 8.4%), construction (by 6.1%) and other (by 4.2%) cargo, fertilizers (by 1.4%) and cement (by 0.1%) increased . Compared to the first half of 2021, growth is observed only in the transportation of grain, construction and other goods.

As for bulk cargoes, in the first half of the year there is a slight increase in coal loading – by 1.6% compared to January-June 2022, to 179.1 million tons, while the loading of oil cargoes decreased by 1.4%, to 105.5 million tons. From the first half of 2021, the loading of these cargoes lags behind by 3.4% and 1%, respectively. Directly in June, the loading of coal increased by 4.1% compared to June 2022, oil and oil products fell by 8%.

According to Russian Railways, in the first half of the year, the company fulfilled all obligations to ship coal to the east under agreements with the regions concluded on instructions from the president: for example, loading thermal coal for export from Kuzbass to the east fully complies with the volume of the agreement (26.8 million tons), from Khakassia – by 3.6% above the quota, from Buryatia – by 12.3%, from Tuva – by 1.2%. The backlog is observed only in Yakutia (by 0.8%), Russian Railways explains this by the failure to present cargo by individual companies.

The deepest drop has been observed in the timber cargo segment for more than a month: by 21.6% in the first half of the year and by 21.4% in June.

The loading of ferrous metals and their scrap, iron and non-ferrous ore, chemicals and industrial raw materials also fell. Roslesinforge explained that the logistics of timber cargo has risen sharply in price. “Railroads continue to be actively used by manufacturers of products with high added value, the rest are switching to truck transportation,” the agency explained. transportation”.

Initially, according to the results of 2023, Russian Railways focused on reducing loading by 2.5%. But in April, Deputy General Director of Russian Railways Alexei Shilo said in an interview RZD-TVthat one can “say with some certainty that this year’s volumes will most likely not be lower than last year.” “That is, according to the sensations, there will not be a decrease, but how much growth can be shown here, time will tell,” he said.

The head of Infoline-Analytics, Mikhail Burmistrov, expects an increase in loading by the end of the year in the range of 1–2.3%.

He notes that Russian Railways is short of volumes in the transportation of coal, container, construction and partly oil cargo. If there were problems with personnel and dispatching in 2022, the expert says, now the problem of reducing the technical readiness of locomotives has been added to them, especially where there are components from unfriendly countries. There was a problem of terrorist activity. In addition, construction work is going on more intensively than last year, and innovations in the field of dispatching “do not contribute to improving the situation on the network.” According to the expert, the surplus of rolling stock, which is constantly criticized, provides Russian Railways with an “additional margin of safety.”

Natalia Skorlygina, Olga Mordyushenko

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