Russian Railway Starts Shuttling Lubes


Russian Railway Starts Shuttling Lubes
A train transports containers in Russia's Zavodoukovsk, Tyumen region in Western Siberia. © Matveychuk Anatoliy /

RZD, Russia’s state railway monopoly, began shipping lubricants and other petrochemicals via express freight shuttles as part of an ongoing effort to streamline its shipment of goods.

The company says the new service makes more efficient use of Russia’s vast rail infrastructure. It is also meant to respond to the rise of rival cargo truck services and long haulers, as the country’s road network is getting vaster and more modernized.

RZD said the idea is to streamline the logistics of small shipments coming from different stations in one express freight train that goes to railway junctures in big cities. The company then forwards petroleum products and other goods through shuttles to the smaller towns in the nearby regions.

“The first three platforms with six containers loaded with LLK-International’s engine oils were transported along the Serepta–Novorossiysk rail route,” RZD said in a recent press release.

It added that containers can be reloaded with cargo in flexitanks and sent as shuttles on the way back. Flexitanks are usually used for secure transportation of petroleum products, such as base oils.

RZD started to test the shuttle service at the end of May, and it has transported at least 120 cars on different routes. Meanwhile, the company said it recorded an increasing demand for this freight shuttle service, which is primarily used by small and medium enterprises. Russia has the world second-largest network of railways, ranking behind only the United States. Russia’s network stretches 85,500 kilometers, crossing 11 times zones. Just over half of the network – 43,000 km – is electrified, mostly in and near cities.

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