The advantageous geopolitical location of the Republic of Belarus at the meeting point of international transport corridors determined the role of its railway as one of the most important links in the provision of trade and economic relations between the European Union and the Asia-Pacific region.
Today, the state association «Belarusian Railway» covers a modern transport system using a well-developed rail network with an overall length of 5.500 kilometers, of which almost 900 kilometers of which are electrified. The total length of single-track sections is 3.900 kilometers and double track sections cover 1.600 kilometers. Transportation is carried out by trains with a weight of up to 7000 tons and an overall length of up to 1500 meters.
The Belarusian Railway’s goal to expand the freight volume is greatly achieved by continuously optimizing transportation schemes for foreign trade, timely reaction to the ever changing demands of the transportation services market and developing competitive tariff conditions. Consistent work is carried out on the agreement of tariff policies with neighboring railway authorities and stevedoring companies at ports.
Essential for the railway complex in Belarus is freight traffic, which covers over a third of the total traffic. The main transit cargoes are coal (49%), oil cargo (24%), fertilizes(5%), ferrous metals (5%), chemicals, oil cakes. At present, about 90% of all transit goods through the territory of the republic is carried at a fixed tariff. The rate level makes a constant transport component in the price of goods and increases their competitiveness in foreign markets.
The largest volume of transit traffic is carried in the direction of Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine.
Over the past decade, a range of stable railway routes have been formed for the transit of freight traffic through Belarus This freight traffic greatly consists of foreign trade cargo traffic to and from Russia and Kazakhstan, which is being transported through Baltic Sea ports such as Kaliningrad (Russia), Riga and Ventspils (Latvia) and Klaipeda (Lithuania).
Furthermore the cargo traffic to the European Union, and back via the II Pan-European Transport Corridor is of great importance. In conjunction with the Trans-Siberian Railway it establishes the shortest and optimal delivery terms route, compared to the sea route for the transportation of foreign trade cargo between Europe and China.
Therefore the branch of the Trans-Siberian railway in the direction of Kazakhstan (Northern Corridor) through Dostyk-Alashankou is the most attractive route for freight transportation between the European Union and Western China.
Together with JSC «Russian Railways», the Belarusian Railway is involved in the realization of the project «TRANSSIB within 7 days. This project allows for covering the distance from the Far Eastern sea ports towards the western borders of Russia within 7 days, while creating competitive conditions for attracting Euro-Asian trade flows towards rail transportation.
The compatibility and efficiency of container cargo transportation is one of the main reasons for the popularity increase of this delivery method.
When transporting containers by rail, especially as the part of the existing container train services, foreign economic activity participants are able to significantly reduce transportation costs, increasing the competitiveness of their products on world markets.
The Belarusian Railway is involved as a concerned player in the project for expediting the advances, primarily concerning containers that are transported via the Trans-Siberian Railway, and is ready to actively participate in this direction within its territory.
Freight traffic on the route North-South, including traffic on the IX Pan-European transport corridor between the countries of the Baltic and Black Sea regions, has a great potential.
The high speed container trains Viking and ZUBR, operated by a cooperation between the Belarusian railway, the Ukrainian railway and the Baltic railways, form an important link between the Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions.
For the purpose of attracting additional freight volume, special attention is paid to developing competitive cargo transportation schemes and improvement of train scheduling. The main goal is switching transit cargo traffic from alternate rail routes through neighboring countries towards routes which include the Belarusian railway.
Customers particularly benefit from the new logistics schemes as they significantly reduce the transportation costs and delivery times of their goods, increasing the efficiency of their economic activities.
The Belarusian railway continuously works on a comprehensive analysis and studies new perspectives on international freight transportations, while monitoring the development of the current situation.
One of the key aspects of improving transit efficiency of Belarus is optimizing control of goods movement across the customs border and speeding up customs procedures.
Together with The State Customs Committee, the Belarusian Railway is involved in the realization of simplifying custom formalities by rail transportation.
The custom procedures are carried out by using modern information technologies, including the use of digital signature.
All this effort allows for speeding up documentation procedures, resulting in a significant reduce of cargo delays at the borders and providing unchecked advance of them as intended.
Today, the Belarusian Railways provide cross-border freight forwarding services that ensure not only the on- time delivery with a glance to safety, but also perform:
- executive information support services;
- customs clearance and declaration of freights;
- handling operations and cargos weighting at the railway stations;
- long term freight storage on the open surface and in customs warehouses;
- insurance services.