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IPEM Suggestions for the Model for Empty Rail Cars Fleet Management in Russia

The report of Vladimir Savchuk, Head of IPEM Railway Transport Research Department, Gudok Publishing House round table “Management of empty cars fleet. Imposing fees on car detention. Shortage of freight capacity” in Moscow, 25/09/2013

Rail transportation can be compared to transportation by roads – in both cases there is the only owner of infrastructure and many users of infrastructure. Rail cars parking at particular stations (where the traffic is high, and maintenance work scope is significantly big) lowers freight capacity of the rail network and extends delivery period. There is also a deficit of infrastructure in Russia, so the task of its enhancement is linked with competitiveness of Russian economy.

In order to solve the problem of empty rail cars parking it is necessary to develop traffic regulations similar to traffic code. The empty rail cars traffic code will both regulate traffic and placing of empty rail cars at public infrastructure.

IPEM suggestions on empty rail cars management:

• Classification of stations: “red” stations, where long empty rail car parking is unadvisable as it lowers freight and processing capacity to critical point; “green” stations, where car parking is recommended. If any empty rail cars exceed the permitted period of parking, the owner of infrastructure and transport operators will be empowered to replace those cars. 
• Electronic system for empty cars management – lists of “red” and “green” stations, indication of available “parking space”. 
• Economic incentives for rail cars operators in order to promote long-term contracts on empty rail car parking at “green” stations – tariff cuts for those operators who enter into such agreements.  

Regulation of empty rail cars parking at public infrastructure and creation of electronic system will lessen the traffic burden on “red” stations. If these measures are taken, operators (operators in Russia, unlike those in European countries, do not own locomotives, such companies provide rail cars for freight transportation services and in some cases own cars) will be able to manage their car fleet more effectively as they will direct empty cars from “red” to “green” stations. There will not be a long list of “red” stations; most of these stations provide alternative space for empty cars – industrial lines.

Federal executive bodies (particularly – Federal Agency for Railway Transport (Roszeldor)) are supposed to implement common rules for all market players. Regulator should take an active stand and implement:

• methodology for categorization of stations,  
• rules for transition from “red” stations,  
• list of “red” and “green” stations.  

It will help to develop balanced solutions for all the market participants, provide conditions for the effective use of main lines’ infrastructure which is build for transportation, rather than for parking of empty cars.

Active expert discussions of regulative changes held at state regulators and legislative bodies’ forums will encourage making prompt decisions for increasing effectiveness of transportation process.

State regulators’ will and ability to make decisions in order to solve the problem of empty cars parking is essential in the context of existing disagreements among market participants. Such disagreements should not affect adjusting regulatory system developed before 2003 when the railway reform was launched. Today the regulatory system of railway transport does not respond to the significant changes which took place in the last 10 years.

 

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