JSC TransContainer is the leading intermodal container
transportation company in Russia. The company owns about
of the total Russian @atcar @eet and holds more than 50%
of the rail container transportation market. Its closest
competitor holds 7% of the market. Additionally,
TransContainer controls more than 30% of the rail-side
container terminal handling market and owns and operates
about 60,000 ISO containers and 24,000 railcars, a network of
rail-side container terminals in Russia and one in Slovakia
as well as 17 rail-side terminals in Kazakhstan. The company’s
major shareholder is Russian Railways which has a 50%
shareholding plus two shares.
The automotive industry accounts for roughly 10% of
TransContainer’s total transport business and its customer
portfolio includes Volkswagen, Ford, Sollers, BMW, Mitsubishi
and Great Wall Motors among others. The company has
demonstrated a remarkable and consistent growth rate of 20%
to 25% over the last few years and currently transports around
TEUs a year.
Ef?cient rail transportation is vital in Russia because of
the sheer size of the country and climatic conditions which
preclude road transport in certain regions in winter. According
to TransContainer’s CEO, Petr Baskakov, the challenges facing
the development of railway infrastructure are similar to those
found in many fast-growing countries such as China.
One area of frustration is that it is dif?cult to overtake
slow-moving trains ahead so trains tend to run in a chain
effect dictated by the speed of the leader. “In Russia, the ?rst
priority is given to passenger trains,” says Baskakov. “There are
some stations where one train may overtake another, but
passenger transportation always comes ?rst.”
Fortunately for TransContainer, the second-highest
priority is given to container trains and Baskakov stresses that
the block trains which the company uses run to time, “minute
by minute, hour by hour, station by station,” as he puts it.
If you want to move quickly on the Russian railway
infrastructure, you must ensure that your containers are being
transported by a block train,” he says. “If you send just one
container as a single shipment it will be subject to the various
challenges facing other users.
This is why we have organised a regular service where we
accumulate containers at our terminals and transport them by
block train. The speed of these block trains is really quite fast.
A journey from the most easterly terminal in Russia to the
western border – a distance of 9,000 kilometres – takes seven
There are two major rail routes which connect Eastern
Russia to the west of the country. One is the Trans-Siberian
Railway, the other the Baikal-Amur Mainline. The total length
of railway tracks in the country is 85,000 kilometres which
places Russia third behind the USA and China. The volume of
containers being moved by rail within the Russian Federation
accounts for only 2% of the total freight so, as Baskakov points
out, the pro?tability of Russian railways lies in the
transportation of general freight. “Even if you were to double
the amount of container transport, the overall impact on the
whole network would only be 0.5%,” he says.
This is why, in terms of the rail infrastructure as a whole,
that increase can be multiplied many, many times before
having any signi?cant impact on the whole network. Traf?c can
be switched between the Trans-Siberian route and the Baikal-
Amur Mainline so if there is a need to increase the volume of
The Russian automotive market continues to thrive as
many other markets, notably in Western Europe, decline.
This is good news for the local transportation sector,
Sam Ogle
Petr Baskakov, CEO, TransContainer