12:20 GMT22 June 2021
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    During Soviet times, Japan used the Trans-Siberian Railway to transport goods to Europe, however, after the collapse of the Soviet Union cargo traffic steadily declined. The main advantage of using the Trans-Siberian Railway for the transportation of goods was its cost-effectiveness.

    There were also a lot of problems, such as a lack of clear delivery periods, complex trans-shipment procedures and poor cargo security, overshadowing this advantage. Much work is being done now to reconstruct the Trans-Siberian Railway in order to improve the quality and convenience of cargo traffic as well as restore the railroad’s status as the world’s largest logistic corridor.

    Sputnik talked to Isao Takahashi, president of Japan’s Toyo Trans, who is taking part in the fourth Eastern Economic Forum. Toyo Trans has been transporting goods to Russia and CIS countries on the Trans-Siberian route for 40 years already.

    “The reconstruction of the railway is an important issue. I think the railroad’s transformation into a main logistics route for cargo traffic between Japan and Russia will contribute to the development of economic partnerships between the two countries. Both Japanese and Russian professionals are going to work together to restore the Trans-Siberian Railway,” Isao Takahashi said.

    This year, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) initiated a pilot project for goods traffic along the Trans-Siberian Railway.This is a joint project with Russian Railways aimed at promoting the use of railway transportation service. Toyo Trans owns two of the seven selected pilot projects.

    “On August 29, at a ceremony held in the port of Yokohama, we sent a container of rice to Moscow. We are going to test the implementation of all the assigned tasks in the course of the pilot projects,” Isao Takahashi said.

    “These pilot projects send a message to our clients that the Japanese and Russian governments are actively involved in the Trans-Siberian Railway’s transformation process. We see the advantages of a railroad that allows the cargo to be delivered in three weeks rather than two months, starting to attract their attention,” Isao Takahashi said.

    “We need to lead the whole complex of actions in order to stabilize cargo traffic along the Trans-Siberian Railway. For example, we need to introduce special freight cars that meet Russian Railways’ standards, as well as reduce the time spent at customs and docking points. We’d like to maximize the benefits for entrepreneurs sending their goods to Europe by customs facilitation and other measures,” Isao Takahashi said.

    However, there won’t be a chance to make up freight trains unless cargo traffic increases. When asked what should be done to increase cargo traffic from Japan, Hisao Nakajima, executive director of the Nomura Research Institute, which supports Japanese investments to the Russian Far East, said that the interests of cargo carriers, not investors, should be the priority.

    READ MORE: AIIB and Eurasian Development Bank Discuss Building China-Europe Corridor

    Therefore, the main thing is not to invest excessively in new technologies, but rather to focus on how to best meet the cargo owners’ requirements.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    railway, corridors, logistics, economy, revival, Trans-Siberian Railway, Nomura Research Institute, Toyo Trans, Hisao Nakajima, Isao Takahashi, Asia, Europe, Russia
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