The Coal Trader

Coal News for Mining & Investing Professionals

Russia’s Eastern Range Rail Capacity to Increase

The throughput capacity of the BAM and Trans-Siberian Railway will be increased from 255 mio t to 270 mio t due to measures agreed between shippers and Russian Railways (RZD) during a meeting of the working group dedicated to the third stage of the Eastern Range development.

The third stage of the Eastern Range modernization includes three phases. The first phase provides for an increase in throughput capacity up to 197 mio t by 2027. The implementation of the second phase will increase throughput up to 210 mio t per year by 2030. Commissioning of the third phase is scheduled for 2032 and will enable RZD to boost throughput capacity of the Eastern Range to 255 mio t.

In accordance with the Russian President’s request, shippers’ proposals were taken into consideration, including the construction of seamless second tracks, the Severomuisky, Kuznetsovsky and Kodarsky tunnels, and a bridge across the Amur River.

In addition, the measures are expected to help balance the development of railroad infrastructure with the operation of Far Eastern ports and border crossings, as well as significantly reduce the cost of capacity expansion.
However, the Russian Ministry of Energy forecasts a deficit of 77 mio t of throughput capacity for coal exports, including a complete refusal to export solid fuel to the east in the Novosibirsk Region and restrictions on exports from Khakassia, Buryatia, and Kuzbass. At the same time, the forecast for rail transportation of oil cargoes in the eastern direction takes into account the needs of all oil companies, and shipments up to 2035 are formed with a reserve of up to 4 mio t.

Due to the shortage of coal export capacity, the third stage of the Eastern Range expansion should be enhanced with a number of measures, including verification of infrastructure demand from non-coal cargo shippers and assessment of their alignment with port capacity development plans in the Far East.

It is also proposed to synchronize the export of all types of cargo with the key parameters of the expansion, which will enable to increase coal supplies in case of lower non-coal cargo shipments.

Another possible measure is the development of the West Siberian and Krasnoyarsk railroads in the direction of Kuzbass – Taishet, ports of Khabarovsk and Primorsky Krai; construction of second tracks on certain sections.

Together with synchronization of the throughput capacity of BAM and Transsib with the capacities of Primorsky and Khabarovsk ports, this will make it possible to gradually increase the export of coal products from Kuzbass to the east by 2030 up to 80 mio t and by 2035 up to 110 mio t.

In addition, the Ministry of Energy is preparing a proposal to consider the possibility of passing empty trains bypassing the Severomuisky tunnel and building a second bridge over the Amur River.