Import in a new way: Russian trucking companies are heading towards collapse

Interview
Import in a new way: Russian trucking companies are heading towards collapse
Import in a new way: Russian trucking companies are heading towards collapse
29 June, 01:16Photo: Фото: infocus.press
How foreign goods get to Russia, how much they rise in price along the way, why trucks stand at the borders for weeks and what Russian road carriers have lost due to destroyed logistics schemes - in an interview with Vladimir Matyagin, President of the National Association of Trucking Vehicles.

Ekaterina Maksimova

- In the spring - during the shock period, logistics became one of the key topics. Which road transport corridors have become the main ones for export and import four months later?

- The main flow of cargo to the Russian Federation now goes through Turkey. Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan are also actively involved.

As for the corridors with Europe, the transit through the territory of Lithuania to the Kaliningrad region, as everyone knows, has recently stopped. And it is not yet clear how this situation will develop. There is cooperation with Finland, with local transport companies, although they are afraid to enter the territory of the Russian Federation. The exchange of goods with Finnish tractors takes place in the customs zone of the border crossing.

-It is through these countries that goods from the European Union are now imported to Russia?

-Yes, that's right. Companies from the CIS countries have become intermediaries between the EU and Russia. And carriers actually monopolized the international transportation market.

There are two points here. I didn’t monitor it much, but after we were banned from entering the Eurozone, European carriers immediately raised the price by almost five times. Accordingly, imported products only at this stage began to cost more for Russians.

Europeans brought, unloaded, then carriers from neighboring republics are connected. And they are already importing goods directly to Russia. Ours at this time are practically without work and suffer losses.

And we turned to the government of the country: the damage to Russian foreign trade since February amounted to about 68 billion rubles. By the end of the year, domestic carriers will lose a market share of 330 billion. We ask the government to ban foreigners from entering the country. The Ministry of Industry and Trade seems to have responded, but so far the issue, as usual, is “under study”, that is, it has been put on hold.

I do not know how long this will be worked out, but do not forget that there is also a strong foreign lobby. For example, represented by various industry unions. When we analyzed who is included in these unions, it turned out that these are Wimm-Bill-Dann, Coca-Cola, Pepsi ... In general, business structures that are interested in support their producers and carriers, and they don't care if it hurts us.

If our government does not begin to take the steps that domestic business, carriers, and associations are proposing, then, of course, we will be completely sad. Who do we support - the Russian economy or foreign business. Here the questions are still open.

There is a risk that when everything settles down geopolitically, then drivers from Armenia and Kazakhstan will drive along our roads, who will deliver products to us at a much higher price.

-What scheme do you propose specifically? How should the process be rearranged?

-Let them be imported to the territory of the Russian Federation, but to the border zone. Some need to designate a kilometer. For example, within 20 km from the border, from some border industrial zone, where there should be an overload.

-So just don't let them out on our tracks?

-Of course. Our carriers need to be given work, because people are standing. And everyone has leasing obligations. A very serious commitment. And no one canceled them. It is necessary to pay salaries to drivers - there are thousands of them. Pay transport tax, although there is no work ...

- Already there are cases when cars were taken away from Russian carriers because of delays in leasing payments?

-At the moment, plus or minus several thousand cars, leasing companies in the regions have already withdrawn.

These companies are mostly owned by European brands that do not behave very nicely with the Russians. This is in terms of warranty service, and service work, software. And if there are delays in payments, cars are literally immediately taken away.

Our Association is convinced that the Russian government needs to intervene. Develop a program of leasing holidays for carriers that have become dependent on European companies. A delay in payments for at least six months, a year is a help.

-Which of the above areas is the most "cork"? Is it true that trucks from both sides stand at the borders not even for weeks, but for months?

- Crossing through Georgia. It's been there for several months - a very serious traffic jam on both sides. This is understandable: this direction was not intended for such a flow of transport, which was reoriented to new logistics chains in a short time.

A month passes to go through Georgia and enter Turkey. Or vice versa. Very poor service from border guards, customs. Well, they just weren't ready for such an influx, you have to look objectively here.

- Who, by the way, pays for a month of downtime in the queue?

- Downtime, travel expenses for truckers are compensated by the owners of vehicles. And the car owner - an entrepreneur or a company, in turn, agreeing on the price for transportation, negotiates the delivery time with the consignor.

Everyone monitors the patency at one or another border point. If it is clear that a month is needed, then everyone begins to count their losses and include them in the cost. In the end, the average consumer suffers, that is, we are with you. All these costs are included in the final price.

And here I see only one way out: to bring the problem of cross-country ability to the government level, expanding the possibilities of border crossings, creating conditions for prompt passage through the borders. To meet and discuss the problem both with those and with our border and customs services.

“Perhaps we are now a little in no position to dictate terms…

-First, to resolve the issue with the Russian services. We were talking about this long before February, shouting. For example, in Transbaikalia, the work schedule of customs and border guards was such that they let through 50 cars a day, and several thousand trucks accumulated in the “Chinese corridor” per day. People just stood in line and lost money.

Trade turnover through some points has grown very sharply. Of course, ours may not care about the problems of the carrier, which costs knocks, weeks, months, but this approach is wrong. The faster the goods are delivered, the cheaper they are.

Therefore, serious work is needed on the part of the Russian government in this matter as well. We are carriers, we cannot influence this, we can only focus on this.

- If you propose to ban foreign cars from driving on domestic roads, then why should they create comfortable conditions for us?

- This is important for all parties and countries. If we talk about the Eurozone, then there are still a lot of non-sanctioned goods that they need to supply to us. Their business is also suffering. And if there are problems with the passage of trucks, then they will either have to just stand up or lose money. I am talking about both importers and transport companies. Yes, we don’t really bring anything to them, but we propose to create some kind of parity: you earn at home, we at home.

The Europeans were very seriously tied to Russia, and there, if the process is not re-established, there will be a serious collapse, up to strikes. The Europeans themselves, I think, are in shock: fuel is becoming more expensive, spare parts too.

- We worry about them, of course, but we feel sorry for our own. List the TOP of the most important problems of Russian carriers today, tied to the international segment.

-First and most important is lease payments. I have already said this. The second is the team, the payment of wages and the preservation of jobs. It is very important. For what? Everything is back to work. If there was work, then, in principle, we could not worry.

From this follows the third point: the lack of this work, underloading. Many of our carrier companies have left not only the international segment, but also the container segment, because European ports are practically idle.

I know that someone has been on pause for the third month. And these companies, by the way, also ask questions - we do not work, but the transport tax must be paid, it is charged. We also talk about this to the government of the Russian Federation.

Toll roads. It also affects us and the end user. The cost of toll roads has increased this year. At least a temporary reduction in fares would be a good help both for the population and for entrepreneurs.

The industry is in another deep crisis. Some companies that have hundreds, thousands of cars in the fleet are already putting up vehicles for sale. They are eating away. Falling profitability, turnover - absolutely everyone. No one today plans to renew the fleet. All will work on older cars.

-In the spring, you predicted an imminent wave of bankruptcies among trucking companies. Do you give up on your prediction?

-While a moratorium on bankruptcy has been introduced. I do not remember, for six months, I think. No bankruptcies and bankruptcy trustees. If there are problems, the company simply pauses. Postponed the period until you officially perish.

We haven't had six months yet. The main wave of liquidations will come to us somewhere in the fall. Unless, of course, certain actions are taken.

- In the spring, for Novye Izvestia, you commented on the situation in the domestic trucking market and argued that due to the closure of the international segment, many have reoriented to the domestic one. This led to severe dumping - the cost of flights fell by 50%. The situation has not changed?

-Some even more began dumping. Carriers themselves are sometimes surprised: what do people work for? Rates have fallen very seriously.

It is clear why this is happening - there are all the same leasing obligations, you have to pay wages and you will clutch at straws to the last. But it doesn't save. People themselves do not earn normally, and others have been spoiled. And we are all in this ... in this situation we are floundering.

At the same time, the prices in stores, I emphasize once again, do not go down. This pebble is not even in the retail garden. More often, almost 100% margin is laid by intermediaries - dispatch services.

Again, we proposed putting the segment of dispatch services under control. This is often a gray segment where money is cashed out. They should be dealt with by the security forces and the state. Not even the Ministry of Transport alone. But as long as each federal department, each ministry is not responsible for the development of the country's economy as a whole, but only for its own front of work, nothing will change. This is a systemic problem that also needs to be addressed.

I hope that now, when we are slowly but surely heading towards collapse, some systemic decisions will be made more quickly. By the way, on July 12 we will discuss this with federal officials and the ONF. There will be a big meeting - they want to know the opinion "from the ground", to listen to those who do not according to reports, but really know - what is happening now. Let's hope.

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