China increases container exports to Russia

According to Russian Railways, in the first 8 months of this year, more than 80% of all Chinese imports were delivered to the Russian Federation in containers. And this creates problems.

The main problem is that more and more such containers are accumulating in Russia. According to Bloomberg estimates, there are already approximately 150 thousand of them.

At the same time, it cannot be said that Russia does not supply anything to China; the total volumes are approximately the same.

However, the nomenclature is completely different. The Russian Federation supplies China mainly with energy resources (oil, coal, gas), as well as grain. But none of this is transported in containers.

At the same time, China has historically supplied consumer goods to Russia, as well as electronics and cosmetic products.

Recently, auto parts, household appliances and industrial equipment have also been added. All these cargoes require containers.

What is the balance of exports and imports of the two countries?


Overall, the balance is maintained.

In the first 7 months of this year, Russia sold $71 billion worth of goods to China and purchased $62 billion. That is, at the moment the balance is even shifted towards Russia.

However, the situation may soon change. Over the same 7 months, China increased supplies to the Russian Federation by 73%, but the return flow increased only by 15%.

This is due to the fact that, due to sanctions, China is increasingly taking on the role of the main, or even the only supplier to Russia of a wide range of various goods.

In general, trade turnover over the past 7 months has increased by approximately 40%, which is a significant amount considering the existing volumes.

What is the solution to the problem with containers?


At the moment it is missing. In fact, there are only 2 ways:

— Send cargo that requires containers back to China.

Such shipments, of course, are happening, but the volumes are not yet comparable. If they grow, it won’t be fast enough.

— Send back empty containers.

It would seem that this is the most obvious option, but such an idea is completely unprofitable.

The carrier (Russian Railways, for example) charges for the volume occupied by containers, and it makes no difference whether there is anything inside.

In addition, it is not clear who exactly should pay for such flights.

For example, a Russian entrepreneur who orders equipment from China pays for the flight to the Russian Federation, after which he is no longer responsible for the further fate of the containers.

In general, as long as China has enough containers, there is no problem as such, imports will continue.

However, it is now useful to start thinking about how to get out of the current situation with an excess of containers in Russia.