This project is a continuation of earlier activities
to develop the Trans-Asian Railway Northern
Corridor (TARNC). Previous activities included the identification
of the routes of the corridor and an assessment of the required
package of transit times, tariffs and level of services which would
be needed for the railways in the corridor to capitalize on the
growing container trade between Asia and Europe through the development
of block-train services offering fast point-to-point transit times.
At the Policy-level Expert Group Meeting (EGM)
held in Bangkok from 26 to 28 September 2001, the participating
countries and concerned international organizations (see below)
agreed that planning and implementing demonstration runs of container
block-trains constituted a good way to concretely analyse overall
performances of rail operation along the routes in the corridor,
and identify measures to increase efficiency and develop traffic
of the Policy-level Expert Group Meeting (EGM), Bangkok, 26-28 September
file, 342 KB).
The Meeting drafted a Memorandum of Understanding on project implementation.
The MOU encapsulates the commitment of the countries participating
in the project to work cooperatively to develop international rail
freight corridors serving the movement of containers within Asia
as well as between Asia and Europe.
Altogether, eight countries are directly participating in the project,
six of which are ESCAP member countries, i.e. China, the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) , Kazakhstan, Mongolia, the Republic
of Korea and the Russian Federation. The other two are Belarus and
Poland. Of the ESCAP member countries, all but DPRK have signed
the MOU at ministerial level. Meanwhile, Belarus and Poland have
also signed the MOU, as have the International Union of Railways
(UIC) and the Organization for Railways Cooperation (OSJD). The
railways of DPRK have expressed their agreement, in principle, with
the MOU raising hopes that they will sign it in future.
The MOU is articulated on a series of Steering
Committee Meetings and a number of demonstration runs of container
block-trains along the routes in the corridor.
Committee Meetings. The Steering Committee Meetings provide
a forum to discus issues of common interest in a cooperative manner.
Demonstration Runs. Meanwhile,
the demonstration runs aim to (i) identify physical and non-physical
bottlenecks to efficient cross border movements by rail; (ii) develop
interconnectivity between railway organizations, and between railway
organizations and other modes of transport; (iii) give particular
attention to the possibility offered by the Trans-Asian Railway
Northern Corridor to landlocked countries to have better access
to the main ports of the region (there are two landlocked countries
in the Northern Corridor, i.e. Mongolia and Kazakhstan with the
latter being the only rail access to ports in East Asia for all
the Central Asian Republics); and (iv) raise awareness among freight
forwarders to the possibility offered by rail to transport containers
between Asia and Europe.
1st Steering Committee Meeting
The 1st Steering Committee Meeting planned under
the MOU was held in Vladivostok (Russian Federation) from 3 to 5
June 2002. The meeting provided an opportunity to assess the recent
activities undertaken by the countries to develop services and facilities
with respect to container operations. Specifically, a number of
new international containers services between major origins and
destinations along the corridor have been developed. The combination
of these various efforts will contribute greatly to the definition
of schedules for the demonstration runs of container block-trains
at a later stage in the project. Report
of the 1st Steering Committee Meeting (PDF
file, 57 KB)
2nd Steering Committee Meeting
The 2nd Steering Committee Meeting was held in
Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), from 6 to 8 October 2003. The Meeting agreed
on a schedule for four demonstration runs of container block-trains
to take place along key sections of the Trans-Asian Railway Northern
Corridor between November 2003 and June 2004. These demonstration
runs took place as follows:
(China) to Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) in 3 days 3.5 hours over the 1,691
km distance (November 2003);
(China) to Almaty (Kazakhstan) in 7 days 6 hours over the 5,020
km distance (April 2004);
(Belarus) to Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) in 8 days 21 hours over the
7,180 km distance (June 2004);
(Russian Federation) to Malacewicze (Poland) in 12 days and 8 hours
over the 10,335 km distance (July 2004).
The secretariat has also been mandated to organize demonstration
runs along other sections with no specific dates mentioned. Such
runs would involve the movement of a container block-train from
the DPRK port of Rajin through the railways of the Russian Federation
to a destination that has yet to be decided, and the movement of
a block train between DPRK and China, subject to the agreement and
cooperation of all railways involved. Report
of the 2nd Steering Committee Meeting (PDF file, 388 KB)
3rd Steering Committee Meeting
The 3rd Steering Committee Meeting was held in
Moscow (Russian Federation) on 29 and 30 November 2005. The Meeting
reviewed the implementation of the four demonstration runs of container
block-trains organized as per the recommendations of the 2nd Steering
Committee Meeting held in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) in October 2003.
It noted the smooth implementation of the demonstration runs at
both the planning and operating stages, and recognized that success
was the result of enhanced cooperation among railways, greater awareness
of international trade patterns arising from globalization, as well
as the deployment of new skills to respond to the industry requirements
for efficient transport and logistics services.
The Meeting also acknowledged that the implementation
of the project had created opportunities for railway managers and
freight forwarders to meet and share their mutual concerns, and
expressed the hope that this may eventually lead to a new approach
to the financing of railway operation through partnership between
railway organizations and the private sector.
The Meeting agreed that the Steering Committee
provided an adequate and flexible forum to discuss issues of common
interest and plan joint actions to further promote cooperation.
In this regard, it requested the secretariat to organize a fourth
Steering Committee Meeting in 2006. Report
of the 3rd Steering Committee Meeting. (PDF file, 151 KB)
Building on the experience acquired, future activities
will look at ways to organize a demonstration run of a container
block-train from or to locations in the Korean Peninsula and encourage
the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to become
party to the Memorandum of Understanding on project implementation.
Having a better understanding of issues relating to Customs, defining
improved rail tariffs and expanding the geographic coverage of the
Northern Corridor to increase its attractiveness to shippers will
also receive attention.
to the Top