Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rail Freight Update

News from around the Globe
Shipping News Feature

UK – The battle of Bearsted appears finally to be over this week after Eric Pickles, the Government’s Communities Secretary, finally kicked plans to develop an intermodal road and rail freight depot ,the Kent International Gateway, after a Public Enquiry lasting over two months. This story has been running since last year and doubtless will continue, leastways on other sites, with proposals still in place for similar developments across the UK.

US – Warren Buffett, who invested so heavily in the future of rail freight last year with his purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe via his Berkshire Hathaway Group, seems to be on the right track as latest figures indicate a 23% increase in revenue in Q2 against 2009.

Mr Buffett of course is one of those rare individuals who have the power to influence a market just by the direction he moves in, but the figures show that, for now at least, he has once again made the right move at the right time. Pressures such as cost and the environment are almost bound to reduce the country’s dependence on truck haulage and rail will be the obvious alternative.

INDIA – Indian Railways have begun to move bulk shipments of agricultural product in Manipur this week after a ten year gap when trucks were used exclusively. Local media report the first train of rice pulled into Jiribam station on Thursday taking eighty truckloads off the roads. The move is seen by some in a concerted effort to return more freight to the system from areas neglected recently by the company.

KAZAKHSTAN – The rail authorities came under pressure this week to switch to a freight tariff shared in common with neighbours Russia and Belarus. A common Customs Union agreement was put in place last month between the three countries and Anatoly Sivak, Head of Belarusian Railways pressed last week for the country to share in tariff levels already agreed between Russia and Belarus for the benefit of all parties.

Mr Sivak also said plans were in the pipeline for Belarus to join with Russia and China to build a high-speed railroad between Minsk and Moscow with speeds of up to 300 km/h.