Japan, Russia Set to Transport Cargo Through Trans-Siberian Railway

Japan and Russia are ready to start cargo transport via the Trans-Siberian Railway, RBC reported on Sunday citing Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper.

According to the paper’s sources, the test use of the Trans-Siberian Railway by Japanese companies may begin in the run-up to the 4th Eastern Economic Forum, where Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to attend. The issue is expected to be raised at the forum, the report said, adding that so far, the participation of between five and ten Japanese companies in the cargo transportation project, mainly distribution firms, is being discussed.

The two governments aim to foster mutual economic cooperation by energizing the “third distribution channel,” after sea and air routes.

The project is also motivated by a desire to build confidence between the two countries and thus pave the way for resolving territorial disputes.

In May, Tokyo hosted the fourth business forum on the development of the Trans-Siberian Railway. The event gathered officials from relevant governmental agencies and heads of the major trade, logistics, and rail companies from Russia, Japan, China, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia.

The Trans-Siberian Railway is an about 9,300-kilometer railway that connects Moscow and Vladivostok with a travel time of seven days. Japan’s use of the railway for freight transport nosedived after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Recently, China and South Korea have been expanding their use of the route.

The 4th Eastern Economic Forum will be held on September 11-13 in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok. More than 50 business events will take place within the forum’s framework, including panel sessions, business dialogues, and roundtables. This year’s forum will be headlined “Far East: expanding the borders of possibilities.”