Why freight transport did not get along with postcopy reproduction
The sharp economic recovery after the 2020 pandemic has revealed serious problems in global logistics. Both maritime transport and railways in 2021 with great difficulty covered the growing demand of shippers. As a result, in the second half of the year the situation in ports and border crossings was increasingly characterized as a collapse.
In Russia, the reduction of traffic on the railway in 2020 was the optimization of personnel and fleet in good condition. The sharp rise in traffic in 2021 is expected to lead to a deficit. Rolling stock, previously suspended from transport and not repaired in time, could not be quickly returned to the network, as car repair facilities in 2020 were also “optimized”. The continuing increase in transit container traffic in 2021 has led to a shortage of fitting platforms, a sharp rise in demand for new rolling stock and, as a consequence, a rise in purchase prices for cars and operator rates.
The growing demand for sea freight in 2021 has led to freight rates reaching historic highs. For example, the container segment, starting at $ 20,000 a day, grew steadily until rates reached $ 78,000 a day in October, seven times the historical average, VTB Capital’s November survey said. Only in November for the first time in a year they showed a decrease of 1 percent month to month.
In 2020-2021. The WCI Drewry composite index, which reflects the cost of shipping container shipping, has grown steadily. In early 2020, its value was less than $ 2,000 per FEU (the equivalent of a 40-foot container), in the first half of 2021 it ranged between $ 4,500 and $ 5,500 per FEU, and by the end of September 2021 the index had already exceeded $ 10,000 per FEU. In some areas WCI Drewry reached $ 15,000-17,000 per FEU. Later there was some correction, since mid-November the index has stabilized in the region of $ 9100-9200 per FEU.
But the main problems in the transport sector are not in the field of demand or price conditions, but primarily in the field of limited infrastructure capacity.
In 2021, rail transport in Russia again rested on the capacity of the Eastern landfill (BAM and Transsibe) and access roads to ports (primarily to the Far East and the Black Sea). The negative factor was the untimely implementation of infrastructure works, mainly related to the expansion of bottlenecks in the network. The increase in container handling in ports and the increase in coal shipments have led to traffic jams on port approaches and problems with the export of coasting cargo to the northern ports of the Far East. The main traffic jams occurred in the fall of 2021 amid coronavirus restrictions in China.
Despite all the difficulties, rail freight has already fully recovered. In January-November 2021, the load on the RF network was 3.3% higher than in the same period in 2020, and 0.3% higher than in the 11 months of the pre-dondemic 2019 – 1.17 trillion tons Transshipment in ports in 2021 (11 months – 763.7 million tons) is also in the black, it is 1.7% higher than in 11 months of 2020.
Experts and market participants predict that the load on the RF network in 2021 may exceed the figure of 2019, which will contribute to the favorable situation in the foreign market for major export goods (especially coal). As the first deputy director general of Russian Railways Vadim Mikhailov said at a December briefing, the monopoly expects cargo turnover to grow by 3.7% in 2021.
In 2022, the loading and transshipment of the main export cargoes of the fuel and energy sector (oil, oil products, coal) is expected to increase due to the favorable price situation, said Alexander Polygalov, Managing Director of the Discovery Research transport sector. also depend on OPEC + agreements during 2022. The growth of container traffic by rail and transshipment of containers in ports will continue due to the care of some goods for rail transit due to the cost of freight, which, according to Polygalov, in 2022 will remain high. In addition, the growth of containerization of traffic in Russia will have a positive impact, which will lead to the growth of container handling in ports, the expert explained. At the same time, analysts at VTB Capital note that rates for the transportation of containers by sea will remain high in 2022.
IPEM Deputy General Director Vladimir Savchuk predicts that in 2022 the deficit of fitting platforms will be reduced with the simultaneous stabilization of rates on them. In addition, the transportation of coal products for export will remain in demand, he said. That is, coal will actually continue to compete with containers and other cargoes for scarce rail capacity, Savchuk explained.
Sergei Grishunin, head of the NRA’s rating service, believes that the dock-like level in the transport sector should be expected by 2023-2024, but only if the intensity of the coronavirus pandemic decreases and there are no other global shocks.