Russian Railways Logistics started providing a new service aimed at reducing the load from the ports of the Russian Far East and attracting additional freight to Trans-Siberian corridor. The company started providing a full range of services for coal transportation through the port of Rajin of North Korea to the countries of Asia-Pacific.
Initial shipments of the Kuzbass coal from the stations of the Western-Siberian railway towards the port of Rajin were held at the end of March, 2014. Russian Railways Logistics has organized two shipments from the Kuzbass coal mines in the total amount of 130 wagons and total volume of 8 840 tons. Russian Railways Logistics provided a full range of services including wagon providing, coal transportation, cargo handling in the port of Rajin and shipping based on CIF to the ports of China Shanghai, Lyanyungan, Guangzhou. The above-mentioned services were provided in cooperation with RasonKonTrans, which is a joint venture of Russian Railways Holding and the Ministry of Railways of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Ice-free seaport of Rajin has a favorable geographical location: cargo arriving here from Europe and Russia through the Trans-Siberian rail corridor may be forwarded by the sea to the countries of Asia.
According to analysts the volume of the coal to be transported to the Asia-Pacific will increase by 2.5 times to 2030. Launching the new route by RZD Holding will increase export of mining and metals companies of Russia as the cargo volume is much higher than the current processing capacity of the ports of the Russian Far East.
Due to shortage of oil and gas resources coal remains an important energy source in China. The main importers of coal and target customers for the North Korea transit are the country’s Southern and Southeast coastal provinces.
According to Pavel Sokolov, RZD Logistics CEO, rapid economic growth of these regions initiated the growing electricity demand, which led to the growing demand for coal in the market, the main power generation source. The cost of imported coal for China is lower than cost in the domestic market. Launching new coal supply route from Russia will attract the customers in the South and the Southeast regions of China. A series of talks with Chinese companies have already been carried out.
The new service allows customers from the Asia-Pacific to receive coal, coke, iron ore at prices comparable to the prices of delivery through the ports of the Russian Far East and will attract additional traffic volumes to the Russian railways.
The port of Rajin Port is located in the Northern part of North Korea, 56 km from the Russian border. It is an ice-free port with a deep-water approach. Deep water area of the port is 11.5 m and provides reception of ships with a deadweight up to 40 thousand tons, terminal frontage lengths amounts to 480 m. Port capacity allows handling up to 4 mn tons of cargo per year. Total storage capacity is 200 thousand tons at a time. Daily loading rate amounts to 14 tons depending on the vessel deadweight.
Reconstruction of the railway route part from Hasan to Rajin and port terminal opening has been carried out since 2008, when Russian Railways and the Ministry of Railways of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea signed a cooperation agreement. In 2009 Russian Railways and the Ministry of Railways of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea launched joint venture RasonKonTrans.
Implementation of Hasan-Rajin project opened new prospects for multilateral international cooperation important both for Asia-Pacific region and Russia.