TALLINN - A major regional conference on rail tariffs in Tallinn passed fruitfully, with Russian rail officials promising to lower tariffs for shipments on Russian territory and several companies inking an agreement to develop container shipments.
Rene Varek, marketing director of Eesti Raudtee (Estonian Railway), called the tariff conference an absolute success.
"Uniformity of transit tariffs by Russia may prove a breakthrough in directing the Far East and Central Asia cargo flows for the transportation chain embracing the entire Eurasian continent, which will directly influence the development of container shipment from the beginning of next year," Varek said.
At present Russia is applying significantly higher tariffs to transit goods that are shipped to land border crossings on the borders of third countries as compared with shipments headed for Russia's own Baltic Sea ports.
Negotiations continued between Estonian Railway and Transkonteiner, a division of Russian Railway, on container shipments in the direction of Russia and Central Asia.
Also, a protocol was signed between the rail companies of Estonia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan on uniformization of the tariffs for transit of aluminum from Tajikistan.
"[More] good news from the conference involved the development of container shipments and finding new cargo flows," Varek said.
The 13 railway administrations that have signed onto the tariff accord agreed that the tariff changes would go into effect in 2006 and decided that the next tariff conference will be held in Belarus in October 2006.
"Although the changes to tariffs were agreed in principle, time is needed to finalize them and the (new tariffs) will be published later," said Varek.