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World rail freight news round-up

30 Oct 2017

Next month GB Railfreight will begin taking delivery of 50 Astra Rail hopper wagons which it is to lease from Nacco to support a contract to haul biomass for Lynemouth Power. The new wagons will have a payload of 70 tonnes, compared to the 53 tonnes of existing vehicles. 

TransContainer’s first intermodal service from Urumqi to Rotterdam via Kazakhstan, Russia and Latvia arrived in Riga on October 16, where the 41 containers were transferred to a ship for onward transport to the Netherlands. 

As part of a scheme to boost non-oil exports from Russia to China, RZD Logistics launched a refrigerated container service between  Vorsino and Chengdu via Zamyn-Üüd in Mongolia on October 20. The inaugural service carried confectionary including Alyonka, Babaevsky, and Vdokhnoveniye chocolates; Korovka and Gusiniye lapki sweets and wafers, caramels, and stuffed breakfast cereals.

Vnesheconombank is financing 2 600 wagons which will be leased to Eurasian Resources Group for use in Kazakhstan.

Canadian National published its sixth sustainability report, Delivering Responsibly, on October 26. CN said that over the past 20 years it had reduced its locomotive emission intensity by 39% ‘while achieving record growth in the volume of freight it moves’, and its EcoConnexions programme made it ‘the leading private non-forestry company tree planter in Canada.’ 

The European Commission has approved the continuation for a further two years of a programme in Italy which provides state aid to offset rail freight operators’ track access charges with the aim of encouraging modal shift from road. The Commission said the state aid furthered the EU’s environmental and transport objectives whilst maintaining competition.

Far East Land Bridge plans to launch a weekly service transporting hazardous goods such as chemicals and batteries from Duisburg to Dalian, Shanghai, Qingdao, Busan, Shenzhen, Tokyo and Taipei.  This follows two successful trial deliveries from Duisburg to Pusan and Taipei , which used the Trans-Siberian railway to the port of Vostochny in Russia’s Far East and then shipping to avoid China’s restrictions on the transport of dangerous goods by rail.

The European Commission has approved Austria’s state aid for the continuation in 2018-22 of schemes to promote a shift of freight from road to rail and waterways and to provide better rail connections to terminals. The Commission found the two schemes had contributed to a transfer of freight from road to rail during the past five years.

Irving Oil is to pay a total of C$400 320 in fines and C$3 599 680 for the implementation of research programmes in the field of safety standards,  having pleaded guilty pleas to 34 counts of offences under Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. A joint investigation by Transport Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police following the Lac Mégantic derailment on July 6 2013 had found that Irving Oil had failed to determine the classification of dangerous goods for the crude oil transported by rail, and shipping documents were erroneous. Irving Oil also failed to adequately train employees. Responding to the sentence on October 26, Irving Oil said it had undertaken ‘a comprehensive review of its procedures and systems’, and the misclassification of crude oil ‘did not cause or contribute to the railway accident in any way.’