Military Review

"New Silk Road" will not reach the Baltic

It became known last week that the Russian Railways company did not agree on the transit of two container trains from China to Estonia in September. According to RuBaltic portal, North Port Paldiski, together with the Chinese company Changchun International Land Port development, has developed a fast route for the delivery of Chinese goods to Scandinavia through the territory of Russia and Estonia. Container trains were supposed to go from Chinese Changchun through the Russian stations Zabaikalsk and Pechora to the Estonian port of Paldiski, and then to be shipped by sea to Sweden. Now the project failed.

Russia is on the way to Estonian plans

According to expert estimates, this failure was expected. There are several reasons for this. We should start with the fact that the arrogant Chinese were discussing the route without Russia's participation. It is as if Moscow should stamp out all Beijing's projects without thinking, promoting its economic interests through its territory!

Meanwhile, at the beginning of the development of the “New Silk Road” concept, it was officially announced that the northern part of this infrastructure project was interfaced with the Eurasian Economic Union, whose interests are represented by the Economic Commission of the EAEU.

As you can see, the Chinese company ignored this requirement and arranged a win-win with the Estonian authorities, eager to make money on the transit of Chinese goods. When it became clear that the project could not be implemented without Russia, the Vice-Chancellor of the Estonian Ministry of Economy, Ahti Kuningas, wrote a letter to the Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation Sergey Aristov.

“We believe that the success of the project on the application of the new concept of the Silk Road requires good and operational cooperation between all parties,” wrote Kuningas who saw the sight in his address to his Russian colleague (quoted in RuBaltic), and undoubtedly serves the economic interests of all the countries and companies involved, including Russian Railways. We ask you to support this transit route and contribute to the modern receipt of confirmations / plans for transit traffic on the territory of the Russian Federation. ”

The letter of the Estonian official remained unanswered, which in general corresponds to the nature of relations between the countries. We note, by the way, the Baltic politicians categorically do not recognize the EAEU, convincing their European partners that this is “a Kremlin project aimed at reviving the Russian Empire.” Now it turned out that it is impossible to jump from China to Estonia, bypassing the EEU, in particular, the territory of Russia.

In the refusal of Railways can not be excluded political reasons. After all, for many years, the Russian authorities, due to the openly hostile position of the Baltic countries, have been trying to minimize the economic risks and the dependence of the transit of Russian goods on the whims of their neighbors. To this end, the port of Ust-Luga appeared on the Baltic coast in the new century.
At first, timber and coal passed through it. Soon the turn came to the ferry. Then the range of goods expanded, a multi-profile transshipment complex appeared, and then a terminal for the shipment of oil from the second Baltic pipeline system. (The first BTS, as we remember, works through the port of Primorsk).

Last year, Ust-Luga handled over one hundred million tons of cargo. In good times, this cargo traffic could go through the ports of the Baltic countries, equipped during the Soviet era. Now they are gradually reducing their momentum. For example, the largest Freeport of Riga in the Baltic States in the year 2017 shipped only 33,7 million tons of cargo across the sea, although its throughput allows processing volumes comparable to Ust-Luga.

The northern port in Paldiski, where Chinese container trains have been waiting for, even looks like an obvious outsider compared to Latvian neighbors. Moreover, after the 2008 crisis of the year, he could not get out of the losses, having accumulated more than 50 million euros, with an annual turnover of 11 million euros.

Estonian port workers tried to find happiness in China and make money on transshipment of Chinese containers to Scandinavia. This included a total of 20000 standard sea containers on an annualized basis. (Today, Estonia handles 33500 containers per year.) Now it’s already clear that they haven’t passed this number.

The Japanese remembered Transsib

In Estonia, however, they pretend that the final point in Chinese transit through Paldiski has not yet been reached. Postimees portal cites the words of the head of the Estonian railway, Erik Laidvee, in this connection: “Russian Railways is trying to prevent the movement of Chinese freight trains to Estonia, but this is impossible in the long term, because international treaties do not allow to restrict transit from third countries.”

It should be noted here that Estonia itself, together with other Baltic countries, has more than once prevented the transit of Russian goods to Kaliningrad. As a result, the Ust-Luga-Baltiysk ferry appeared. So Laydvee led not the strongest argument.

Moreover, Russian Railways has other reasons to refuse China and Estonia to allow their container trains to pass through Russia. 27 August at a meeting of the presidential commission on the fuel and energy complex, the general director of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov spoke about the congestion of the Baikal-Amur Mainline. He called the "bottleneck" the North Bom railway tunnel.

The meeting was not about the transit of containers from the eastern Chinese provinces. They discussed the development of the Russian Far East and the need to increase the volume of freight traffic in this regard. The commission commissioned RZD companies to prepare a feasibility study for the construction of the second Severomuisk tunnel by December 20.

Not only the Chinese, but also the Japanese and Koreans are counting on Russian transit. In the last decade of August, the Oriental Stevedoring Company tested a container with goods from Japan as part of an accelerated container train. VSK sent it from its own terminal in the port "Vostochny" on the Trans-Siberian Railway to Art. Vorsino in the suburbs.

According to the VSK press service, special sensors were placed inside the container that recorded the temperature and vibration level along the entire route. To monitor the cargo on the whole route to the container, an electronic Glonass seal with a GPS module was installed.

This test is preparing for the IV Eastern Economic Forum, which will be held in Vladivostok on September 11-13. According to the Yomiuri newspaper, it will, among others, discuss the transportation of joint cargo by Japan and Russia along the Trans-Siberian Railway. Five to ten Japanese companies have already shown readiness for this.

So while Estonia is looking for happiness on the “New Silk Road”, Russia is considering alternative transit cargoes and even plans large-scale investments to increase cargo traffic through its territory. Here are just Estonian interests nothing to do with. In the end, containers from Chinese Changchun can be transported by sea from the Russian Ust-Luga without major problems. After all, their final recipient is not the North Port of Paldiski, but the Scandinavian countries.

Conclusion from this stories is obvious: the short-sighted policy of the Baltic leaders has led their countries to the point that they are now slipping to the periphery of both Europe and Eurasia, past the New Silk Road.
Photos used:
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  1. Egorovich
    Egorovich 3 September 2018 11: 09
    As it comes around, it will respond. Any meanness must be punished.
    1. KVU-NSVD
      KVU-NSVD 3 September 2018 11: 33
      As it comes around, it will respond. Any meanness must be punished.
      And that too. But it is also pure pragmatism - it is stupid to give goods to competitors in the presence of our own developed logistics. Yes, and the Chinese with consignees are unlikely to be offended - through Ust-Luga both faster and more convenient (minus customs and plus - our infrastructure in Ust-Luga is newer, more modern, which means more efficient and, as a result, more profitable) And let the Estonians swallow Chukhonskaya sadness and amuse themselves with Russophobia against the background of a "pro-European" inhibitory policy
      1. Snail N9
        Snail N9 3 September 2018 12: 03
        Actually, this story (with behind-the-scenes negotiations) once again shows what a "friend" China is for Russia .... wink
        1. Paranoid50
          Paranoid50 3 September 2018 14: 21
          Quote: Snail N9
          what kind of "friend" for Russia is China ....

          How, how ... ordinary. And the Chinese hucksters are the same as everywhere else.
          According to the RuBaltic portal, Paldiski’s Northern Port, together with a Chinese company Changchun International Land Port development developed a fast route for delivering Chinese goods to Scandinavia through the territory of Russia and Estonia.
        2. DVTamga
          DVTamga 3 September 2018 15: 54
          The Chinese will never be friends for Russia. Partners? Yes it is possible. And so each for himself.
          1. Tatar 174
            Tatar 174 3 September 2018 17: 31
            Quote: Egorovich
            As it comes around, it will respond. Any meanness must be punished.

            Here dill with Poles would block all the roads through RUSSIA ... But what? As they are to us so we must treat them. In my Tatar mentality, this is correct
          2. Hapfri
            Hapfri 3 September 2018 18: 41
            In my opinion, an Estonian carrier came to the Chinese manufacturers and said: "I will take everything you need to Sweden." What is China's fault and why did we not come to them ourselves?
            1. NIKN
              NIKN 4 September 2018 11: 10
              Quote: Hupfri
              : "I will take everything you need to Sweden"
              Looked at the map ...
              fast route for delivering Chinese goods to Scandinavia through the territory of Russia and Estonia
              Or am I already stupefied? Well, I didn’t find it as a profitable route. Option one is that they will do cheaper at customs. Well, this is already a question for the FSB.
          3. seti
            seti 3 September 2018 21: 42
            And we can add - passive "partners" from the Baltic states not one kilogram or liter of Chinese, Japanese or Korean cargo.
  2. Loess
    Loess 3 September 2018 11: 27
    This is called "checking out".
  3. rocket757
    rocket757 3 September 2018 11: 44
    Whatever you call it, the end is shining for them; there’s not much time left to wait.
  4. Masya masya
    Masya masya 3 September 2018 11: 54
    The conclusion from this story is obvious: the short-sighted policy of the Baltic leaders has brought their countries to the point that they are now sliding into the periphery of both Europe and Eurasia, past the "New Silk Road"

    With neighbors, that is, with us, you need to be friends, and not yap for the sake of the owner ... Now let your elbows bite ...
  5. Alexey RA
    Alexey RA 3 September 2018 13: 35
    Estonians. do not despair! All is not lost!
    There is also a proven route from China bypassing Russia - with two ferry crossings and a train following through the territory of Ukraine. Further through Poland, Lithuania, Latvia - and that’s it, containers in Estonia.
    Yes, the carriage will be golden. But not through Russia! laughing
  6. Normal ok
    Normal ok 3 September 2018 14: 57
    To begin with, presumptuous Chinese discussed the route without the participation of Russia. It is as if Moscow should stamp out all of Beijing’s projects, promoting its economic interests through its territory!

    Actually, according to international agreements, it should be so.
    1. DVTamga
      DVTamga 3 September 2018 15: 52
      Actually, according to international agreements, that’s how it should be. Learn the materiel!
  7. Ros 56
    Ros 56 3 September 2018 18: 54
    Let the SMP try, leisurely Estonian guys. Only where they are, it is not clear. After all, you can immediately from China to Sweden, but by sea.
  8. Cottager452
    Cottager452 3 September 2018 20: 23
    What a strange foreign policy we have, insults and noble swagger of some kind. Yesterday friends are in the gums, today they are enemies to the grave. And so in everything and always. Why?
  9. Darth gazgkull
    Darth gazgkull 3 September 2018 20: 26
    Everything is logical. As to us, so are we.
  10. All the details
    All the details 3 September 2018 22: 28
    The Chinese are insolent. It is a fact. Our policy is to blame ... And the Estonians? Here is the story. Alexander Yaroslavovich once recaptured our fortress Koporye. He released the captive knights of the Teutonic Order, and hanged the warriors of the Chud tribe. And so it has been repeatedly. Nothing has changed for many years. Come and WE, when we beat them, we will put Americans on a bargain for ransom, and entih ... Well, you yourself decide.
  11. Tolik_74
    Tolik_74 3 September 2018 22: 53
    Labusia and slow guys from Estonia got theirs. Now Belarus will transfer all cargoes to Ust-Lug too, then they will "sing". And then they barked like dogs at Russia, but right now they beg for a bone
  12. sleeve
    sleeve 4 September 2018 04: 48
    That's right, and okay. Faithful logistic vector. Rossi is a huge territory simply intended for transport projects. An extended territory without borders with customs at the entrance and exit. Clear laws, well-developed road infrastructure (not asphalt!). Any "Silk Road" makes sense to go through Russia and its trans-Siberian. when it comes to land options. But still, land species (railways and even more cars) are much more expensive than sea ones. However, the safety of transportation negates some of the options. Moreover, we do not have a code of "private" railways with their own tariffication, but the only resident in contractual relations. We even have a "bookmark" from the times of the USSR in the form of the BAM, which is not filled to the end. We have everything. And all this gradually goes into action. And the cherry on the cake will be the SMP. Its time has not come yet, but the fact that it will be similar in speed to the Hormuz corridor is for sure. And, by the way, it would not be bad at all to "strain" the Chinese, on the eve of the start of oil development in the Arctic, to carry oil products of our own manufacture to that direction, making our northern delivery cheaper.