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New Auto Terminal Opened

New Auto Terminal Opened

24 July 2008By Jeremy Ventuso / Special to The Moscow Times

MIKHNEVO, Moscow Region -- The first in a series of new terminals designed to increase the volume of cars carried by rail across the country was unveiled 90 kilometers south of Moscow on Wednesday.
Double-decker car transporters loaded with KIA hatchbacks on both levels were on display at the 1.2 billion ruble ($50 million) Mikhnevo terminal at a ceremony attended by officials and investors. The wagons are the first of their kind in Russia and are essential to the logistical concept behind the new network of terminals, since they will allow more cars to be delivered more quickly and efficiently through Russian Railways' network.
"This will help take pressure off the overburdened roads by shifting more freight traffic onto our railway network," said Viktor Ivanov, general director of RailTransAuto, the company that is setting up the terminals.
A spokeswoman for RTA, which is 51 percent-owned by state-owned Russian Railways, or RZD, and 49 percent owned by TransGroup, a freight and logistics company, said the Mikhnevo depot can currently store about 5,300 cars. The terminal can also serve as a repository for shipping containers, but cars are the focus.
The project to transport cars by rail comes as Russia is expected to surpass Germany for the spot of Europe's largest car market by the end of this year. Already in the first half of 2008, 1.645 million cars were sold in Russia, ahead of Germany's 1.63 million, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
There are seven other hubs in the intended network, in Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Zabaikalsk and Almaty, Kazakhstan. The other terminals are scheduled to open in the next few months.
Ilkka Seppanen, director of cargo transport for Finnish Railways, said 1 million cars per year were expected to come to Russia from Finland, thanks in part to the new rail terminals.

24 July 2008
Moscow Times