Russia cargo transportation infrastructure update

Russia’s a land of major infrastructure projects.

With massive spending plans afoot, the nation is creating a better infrastructure environment for its transport & logistics sector. 

Roads and railways; sea and airport development; all of these major links in the transport chain are seeing sustained development. 

A look at transport infrastructure development around Russia

Road construction to benefit road freight sector

Some $78bn has been allocated to improve the length and quality of Russia’s road network.

The goal is to expand the high-quality roads, including highways and urban links, by 50% by 2024.

One of the biggest recent achievements in this area is the opening of a new 669km toll road linking Russia’s chief cities Moscow and St. Petersburg. The route has been a long time coming, but now it is open, meaning truckers have a speedier route between these major cargo hubs.

Previously, the journey between the cities took nine hours. Now, it has been reduced to six.

The World Cup in 2018 helped invigorate road building. As a result, the road connections between Moscow and cities such as Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, and other tournament host cities, has been vastly improved.
The onus now is on developing roads in Russia’s Far East. 

This presents a significant challenge. The weather here is notoriously arctic. Sub-freezing temperatures, howling gales, and banks of sleet and snow make road construction and maintenance a year-round struggle.
But, with the influence of China and its One Belt One Road, the need to develop road infrastructure in this region is a key concern. 

Take the $295m vehicle bridge over the Amur river, connecting Russia’s Blagoveshchensk and China’s Heihe. This is the first of its kind, and helps cut off 3,500km off journey lengths for road traffic between China and Russia.

It’s been in development for over 24 years, but only saw realisation in 2019. It’s estimated that over 4m tons of goods will be pass over the bridge every year once full traffic volumes begin in April 2020.

Move to develop Moscow air freight capabilities

Moscow Sheremetyevo is already to largest airport in Russia. It’s also the country’s chief air cargo terminal.

In 2017, the airport opened a brand-new cargo facility – the first of its kind in Russia. Boasting automated systems, IT backups, and new cold storage infrastructure, Sheremetyevo’s freight hub brings it up to spec with international leaders like Hactl in Hong Kong or Dubai’s Emirates SkyCargo Mega Terminal.

It can now handle 320,000 tons of air freight every year. This is crucial, as Moscow is still the centre of all air freight in Russia. Deliveries land in either Sheremetyevo or the other capital airports, before being transferred to sites around the country. 

2022 will see the second phase of Sheremetyevo’s Moscow Cargo Complex expand. Phase two will increase capacity to 720,000 tons annually, adding further scope for temperature-sensitive cargo, and adding special facilities for transfer and express shipments.

Sheremetyevo has already strengthened its position as Russia’s leading air freight node. Across the first seven months of 2019, the airport handled 23.5% of all Russian air freight, and two thirds of air cargo in and around Moscow.

Development of Arctic sea ports to intensify

Between $72-82bn has been assigned to Russia’s Arctic. Why? It’s massively rich in natural resources – and the Northern Sea Route is being turned from an ice-encrusted pipe dream into a weather-beating reality.

President Putin has big plans for the Arctic. Transport infrastructure forms a major crux here – partly to handle liquid hydrocarbons cargoes, but to also facilitate the Northern Sea Route other freight types.

Multiple port facilities are either in the planning stage or ready to kick off construction in 2020.

Amongst the largest is Utrenny: a new facility designed to handle liquid LNG cargoes from the mammoth Arctic LNG-2 project. According to Transport Minister Yevgeny Ditrikh, Utrenny will handle 21.6m tons of freight when it begins operations in 2024. The cost? A cool $2bn.

Indiga Port, another maritime hub servicing the Northern Sea Route, is slated to kick off construction in 2020.

Indiga, the brainchild of AEON Corporation, is forecast to cost $2.5bn. Coal, timber, fertilisers, and general cargo terminals will be built at the site. Rail infrastructure will also be included too, connecting the port to Russia’s extensive railway network.

A smaller terminal on the Kola Peninsula in the Far East is also being built. Capable of handling 20.9m tons, Ura Guba is expected to open in 2023.

Such is the importance of freight infrastructure in the Arctic, that new port construction projects are now tax exempt. Expect this most cold of regions to heat up with maritime infrastructure activity from 2020 onwards.

New Arctic rail route 

The importance of the Northern Sea Route in Russia’s transport & logistics plans goes beyond just building ports and maritime terminals. It requires a wide-range of attendant infrastructure – not last railway connections.

The Northern Latitudinal Railway is one such proposed route.

This projected route would serve Arctic ports by connecting them with Wester Siberia’s powerful mineral and metal processing plants. First phase would involve building 500km of fresh track, as well as construction of a bridge over the Ob River. 

Phase two would be building a new link to the LNG-focussed port of Sabetta. Roughly 170km of track would be constructed here.

The initial two phases of the rail route’s development have a price tag of about $3.2bn, and boast a cargo carrying capacity of 25m tons.

Be at the heart of Russian logistics at TransRussia

As Russia’s only international transport and logistics exhibition, this is an event you want to mark in your calendar for 2020. For exhibitors, you can meet nearly 17,000 cargo owners, freight forwarders, retailers and others in need of transportation services and technologies on the Russian market. 

Visitors are primed for purchasing, and more than two thirds will only attend TransRussia amongst industry events.

Book your stand today and get ahead of your competitors in the market.

To find out more, contact our team for more information on this industry-leading international event.