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17 February 2019 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 21:07 GMT+1

February 5, 2018

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Original news
In future the goods sent via train from China to Europe will travel rather along the transcaspico railway corridor rather than on the Transiberiana

It previews a relationship of Global Risk Insights

The recent inauguration of the railway corridor Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK), in the southern Caucasus(on 31 October 2017), it has increased the interest for railway shipments along the New Via of the Silk that connects China with Europe. It evidences the relationship "China's Belt & Road Initiative: risk insights" of Global Risk Insights (GRI), the institute of analysis founded from the London School of Economics, emphasizing that, if the volumes of railway traffic goods on the director Estremo East-Europe through Russia have grown considerable, the perspectives of development of the China-Europe railway traffic they turn out very more tempting for the transcaspica line, with volumes of rail shipments China-Europe through the Kazakistan who - as announced last November from the minister of the Investments and the development of the Kazakistan, Zhenis Kasymbek - is increased of one hundred the 104,000 times reaching container, with a forecast of ulterior increase to two million containers per year within 2020.

The relationship finds that the development of the rail shipment China-Europe has provoked remarkable interest since the new lines have created new channels for the commerce destined to compete with the more lens broken marine. The analysis remembers that China previews that in next the 10 years a annual increase of 15% of the exported volumes of container for railway way in Europe will be recorded, increase - specific the GRI on the base of observations of the Russian Carnegie Moscow Center - than up to now has been in great part encouraged from generous subsidies to the railway lines in China.

The relationship remembers that China has main three railway lines that connect it to Europe: the Russian Transiberiana from China north-oriental, the Transiberiana through Mongolia and the railway system of the Kazakistan and the Turkmenistan towards the ports of the Sea Caspian, ports from which the goods is transported in Azerbaijan where come then loaded on the railway net that crosses the southern Caucasus and Turkey. Precise GRI that for transport railway the more favorable rates on the Transiberiana route attest around 8.000-9.000 dollars for container from 20 feet (teu), respect to a cost of 1.000-2.000 dollars/teu for the transport via ship, and that China - because of the deficiency of ability on the Russian railway net and of the extreme slowness of the rail shipment on this director it is now estimating the possibility to subsidize these transports covering the 40-50% of the cost of the shipment via Transiberiana. The relationship specific that Russia has instead not succeeded to convince China to engage itself to finance its plan of modernization of the railway lines Transiberiana and Baikal-Amur and that the Ministry of Transportation Russian is striving in order to stop the cooperation with China in the within of the strategic plan Chinese Belt and Road Initiative unless Beijing does not make cargo of these investments. The relationship finds that, in the light of this situation, it turns out limited the space of increase of the volumes of rail shipment through Russia.

The analysis emphasizes that the opening of the railway line Baku-Tbilisi-Kars will sure contribute to increase the volumes of transit railway traffic, but clarifies not is founded elements in order to consider a annual million volume realistically approachable two teu. According to GRI, since the line is multimodale, the increase of the volumes of transit traffic it would have to be estimated in the first instance in terms of turnover of the Chinese exports with the southern Caucasus and Turkey. Moreover the relationship finds that, also in the presence of meaningful subsidies, the traffic lines that the Kazakistan hopes to take advantage of are the more convenient for situated destinations little before or to the border with Europe: for example, China has become the main source of imports of Turkey, for a value of 2,1 billion dollars in the finished year last November, and to september the commercial exchanges with the Georgia were worth 640 million per year, with the hope by Tbilisi that the bilateral agreement of free exchange of this year will elevate the figure to a billion of dollars. Moreover there are determined elements of uncertainty from the political situation in Kazakistan and remains also the necessity to increase the volume of commercial exchanges between the States crossed from the transcaspica line.

The relationship more analyzes also the situation to the West, where obstacles of infrastructural character and uncertainties on the political developments continue to stop the increase of the China-Europe railway traffic. Although this - according to GRI - the perspectives of increase of the rail shipments China-Europe through Russia are more rather limited, while the shipments on the transcaspica line - than the inauguration of railroad BTK it has returned the favorite option for transport from China towards the Europe - seem destined to grow even if the volume of the exchanges that can manage is however limited. The great container vessels - the relationship observes - cannot approach the Sea Caspian and in any case it does not have much sense to employ them in the basin of the Caspian one: this limits the economies of scale that can be achieved and mean that the traffic volume will be in great part generated from the countries crossed from the railway line.

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