Suez and Panama as parents of multimodality

The development of multimodal transit and best trucking dispatcher training looks quite logical against the backdrop of the situation in the field of traditional maritime transport. Of course, the delivery of goods by sea is quite cheap compared to other methods, but it also has its drawbacks.

“Port processing takes up to seven days. Sea routes are quite long, and therefore long. Sea salt corrodes not only the rubber seals on the doors, but also the metal of the containers itself, – says Maxim Prusakov, General Director of the Yakut Transit and SHERL companies. “They wear out faster and require frequent repairs.”

However, the cost advantage of maritime transport today no longer looks as unconditional as it used to be. According to the CEO and co-founder of the ALLTRUCKS logistics marketplace Mikhail Mezentsev, over the past year, the cost of sea freight has increased six times.

“This is due to the fact that containers got stuck in the United States during the pandemic, did not return to China, and the resulting shortage led to a sharp increase in rates,” the expert explains. “In addition, the situation with the container ship Ever Given, heading from China to Rotterdam, also played a role: in March it ran aground in the middle of the Suez Canal and completely blocked it, paralyzing sea traffic.”

These two factors, according to Mezentsev, have complicated the logistics of shipping and increased its cost. As a result, carriers have begun to actively use other delivery methods. But rail transportation of goods has other advantages: trains, unlike air and sea transportation, do not depend on the weather. They are faster and more reliable than sea ones, and incomparably cheaper than air ones.

Olena Krivshich, partner at Strategy Partners, head of the defense industry and engineering and transport practices, agrees with him. She believes that the delivery method is chosen according to two parameters: time and cost.

FILE–The Mubarak peace bridge over the Suez canal, 142 k.m. 90 miles north east of Cairo, which joins Sinai Peninsula, to the right, with mainland of Egypt, to the left is seen in this Oct.1, 2001 file photo. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and former Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto attended Oct.9, 2001, a ceremony commemorating completion of the bridge. (AP Photo/STR)

“Rail freight transportation is more expensive than maritime transport, but it is better to compare rail and sea transport in the context of specific transport corridors,” Krivsic is sure. “The cost difference is not so dramatic, and for many shippers, the speed and capacity of a particular route comes first. For example, due to the limited capacity of the Suez and Panama Canals, carriers are forced to look for alternative routes and switch from sea lines to rail, despite the fact that transportation along it is most often more expensive.”

There is another important detail: multimodal transit traffic allows the use of a single documentation – the CIM / SMGS consignment note (Convention on the International Carriage of Goods by Rail / Agreement on the International Carriage of Goods by Rail). It is valid in Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Europe, it does not need to be issued every time, and this helps to optimize transport costs, technology and delivery times. In addition, the document is valid for both maritime and rail transport.

Still, the main advantage of rail transport compared to sea transport is speed. If, for example, by sea, the delivery of goods from China to Europe takes two months, then by rail it takes only 7-14 days, depending on the route. Therefore, even with an increase in tariffs for rail transit, it will have a great advantage in terms of speed and reliability of delivery compared to sea delivery, which is especially important for high-value cargo.

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