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            september 21, 2019

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AsstrA about forwarding


Oleg Germanovich, marketing department director of the transportation-forwarding company AsstrA
Today AsstrA is a group of companies, represented in eight European countries: Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Lithuania, Russia and the Netherlands

AsstrA in Europe

This year AsstrA Assotiated Traffic AG will celebrate the 10 years anniversary of working in the markets of Europe, CIS and the Baltics. During its work the group of AsstrA companies created the network of representations and affiliates with the staff of more than 260 employees. In Minsk, Byelorussia, there is a representation office of AsstrA AG and two subsidiaries – the transportation company BTL-BelTransLine and the forwarding agency AsstrA-Weissrussland in Brest. The office of the Ukrainian company Utl-UkrTransLine is situated in Kiev, and another residential structure - AsstrA-Ukraina - was opened there recently. In Lithuania, there is a branch called AsstrA-Vilnius that deals with forwarding. In Poland the group of companies is represented by Asstra-Polska in Warsaw and its customs office at a terminal of the boundary transition Karoshchin. At the time there are some preparations being made before the opening of the new customs office in Bobrovniki. The Italian office in Bergamo is working in transport-forwarding sphere for two years. The head office of AsstrA is situated in Zurich (Switzerland), and here the tactics and the main strategies of economic activity are worked out. In Russia the full range of services in the transportation-forwarding sphere is offered by the subsidiaries RTL-RusTransLine with the offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Ekaterinburg and AsstrA-S.Petersburg. The competitiveness of the last one in the market is ensured by the presence of the port agent's license and efficient co-operation with the port of St. Petersburg, where company accomplishes the tasks of the ship owners, consignors and consignees. The great amount of company activities – not less than 60% – is the road haulage in the European countries, Baltic States and CIS, the rest 40 % refer to the multimodal transportations (containers, railways, vessels).

Total containerisation or lack of trucks?

At the time the railway and shipping line traffic are more often used in Russian export transportation. Thus, the part of containerized cargo in the total export of Russia has reasonably increased. Most probably, it can be explained by the lack of trucks, because Russia still does not have its own truck fleet, which could provide for the sufficient quantity of transport. For Byelorussian forwarders Russian side has set the quota, the possibilities of Latvian and Estonian parks are very restricted, but Polish trucks handle only import to Russia. However, companies prefer to have their freight forwarded by trucks, since they are more flexible in the aspect of price policy, provide door-to-door deliveries in shorter terms. Besides, not all the freight can be forwarded in containers, and many Russian consignors do not use this kind of shipment at all. The top issue to discuss is not the purposeful containerization policy, but the fact that Russian exporters are looking for the alternative to the road haulage. This is due to insufficient truck fleet in Russia and the limited number of foreign forwarders in Russia.

Oversize containers

At the end of the previous year a sudden rise was given to the road haulage costs. The situation is quite atypical, because forwarding can be characterized by seasonal recurrence of prices, but in this case the rates (especially those for export to Russia) that increased during the period of active cargo flow remained at the same level for almost for a whole year round. At the same time, the number of road hauliers in the market has not changed, and exporters turned to containers. In Russia the number of companies delivering containers from-port-to-door has increased, and for such transportation the vehicles of poor quality are more often used. Besides, the containers are loaded without taking into consideration the tonnage, while the tilt or frigo carrying capacity is limited. The containers are forwarded overloaded; it damages the paving and the forwarding quality is bad, nevertheless, a lot of Russian companies are working in this sphere and do not make any attempts to switch to the international market. The situation gave a stimulus to the development of inland transportations in Russian market in the sphere of container delivery. RTL-RusTransLine, the affiliate of AsstrA, provides for these services on particular routes, offering high quality and safe container delivery within Russia.

Peculiarities of Kazakhstanian freight forwarding
At the time Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan transport market faces great activity in forwarding. The main part of import makes equipment, foodstuff, chemicals and building materials; the exported goods are mainly cotton, supplied by the enterprises of some particular ports, and the pelts. It is necessary to point out that certain forwarders are «attached» to this freight. Taking into consideration the location of Kazakhstan and the existing cargo for Russia, this route would be especially profitable for Byelorussian forwarders, but only in the conditions of the period 1994–2000. Presently the number of Russian permissions for the Third World countries is very restricted. Kazakhstanian service is also rather insufficient due to the minor local truck fleet. Besides, the export rates to Russia, offered by large, from their point of view, Kazakhstanian transportation agencies, are rather nominal. However, they fit in the terms of delivery and use sufficiently good transport and customers seem to be satisfied.

TIR pyramid: the top is close

With the EU approaching to the borders of Byelorussia the question of TIR Carnet will become sufficient again. Now the Russian export freight can be forwarded with the cheaper export declaration, it requires the filling out of the necessary forms for the common European transit in advance. Moreover, the downtime at the border for the trucks with the TIR Carnet documents is much longer than with the T1 system documents. Nevertheless, there is no alternative to the TIR system yet, and it will remain so until Russia and Byelorussia agrees on a universal transit documentation system. In the course of time TIR system it has not managed to get completely adapted to the Eastern Europe market. Practically, this system is a financial pyramid, based on the claims of customs officers to the forwarders. With the EU enlargement of the TIR system will gradually lose its urgency and exceptionality.

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