Most trainloads are currently of electronics goods firms such as Hewlett-Packard, Acer, , Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. However, Kaluga is a major automobile manufacturing centre in Russia. Russian Railways has recently purchased a controlling stake in Gefco, a logistics company previously owned by Peugot-Citroen. Volkswagen, , Volvo, Mitssuubishi and Peugeot Citroen all have assembly plants in Kaluga. These firms plus BMW, Honda, Toyota and Daimler are said to be looking at the new service which is suitable for the transport of car components from Korea and Japan as well as China. The cost of usingg the system is said to be comparable to sea transport but the journey times are 3 weeks less.
Enabling this route also opens opportunities for goods to move in the other direction. Russia has recently achieved levels of chicken production that allow it to consider exporting. Russia has also made large investments in pork production. A working Silk Road will enable the agricultural potential of European Russia to be delivered to China.
Trains are also now being run from China to Ukraine. Saratov, Volga Trader's home city is a key junction for these routes as it is the first Russian location after the Kazhakstan border.
As we noted in our last blog, Russia is also making efforts to improve customs procedures and physical access to Iran.
For more from the Russian Railways press release follow this link.