After the Russian-Chinese intergovernmental agreement was signed in January 2019, Russian international road carriers got an opportunity to carry goods to inland regions of China.
However, having the opportunity does not always mean being truly able to do something. In fact, only a few trucking companies have been able to arrange deliveries to / from China further than 50 kilometres from the border. Oleg Ostapovich, Head of the Commercial Department, TELS CARGO, and Evgeniya Golub, Deputy Director, TELS CARGO, talk about the main features of road transportation in the area and the challenges for entering the Chinese logistics market.
Oleg Ostapovich: “We have been arranging transportations to inland regions of China since autumn 2019 – first it was Beijing, then Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou. The market differs greatly from all the regions we have worked and are working in.”
1) Many international agreements are not working
Oleg Ostapovich: “A number of widespread international agreements are not working in China. For instance, the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR). And the Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets started working only recently – customs formalities can be completed only at border crossing points, while they do not work for internal customs clearance points.”
2) You will have to find a local assistant
Evgeniya Golub: “It is quite a job to prepare a trip to China. One of the greatest challenges for entering the Chinese logistics market is the command of the language. Numerous documents provided for the vehicle and the driver have to be translated into Chinese. And most importantly, you need to know Chinese during the trip.
It will be extremely difficult to transport goods without a local contractor. Road signs do not have Latin transliteration. You will also have to communicate with local services and the police. You will certainly need assistance when loading and unloading goods. Booking a hotel without a local assistant might be challenge, too. So far, we have been working with professional local contractors, who have proved reliable over time.”
3) Limitations on the hours of work and the list of restricted goods
Evgeniya Golub: “Working hours of border checkpoints must be taken into consideration when planning transportation – the checkpoints work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nothing is done outside the working hours.
Another feature of road transportation to China is transport restrictions on certain types of goods. Some goods can be imported to China by sea, but cannot be imported by road. Some types of goods are in general prohibited from entering China, for example, certain recycled chemicals. It is quite difficult to organize road transportation of dangerous and oversized cargo. And if you haven’t got into the issue with local experts before the tri and you don’t know for sure which goods are permitted and which are prohibited, you are most likely to suffer great losses.”
4) What is transported and where to?
Oleg Ostapovich: “So far, the major volume of road carriages from China has been to nearby Russian regions, but trips to Moscow and St. Petersburg are becoming more and more frequent. When the cargo is expensive and requires fast delivery, road transport can be beneficial over long distances. For instance, road freight rate from Beijing to Moscow is around $7.5K. And the cargo is delivered safely in 12-13 days. China boasts of good roads, so 800 kilometres per day can be covered easily.”
Evgeniya Golub: “We have already transported factory equipment, car parts, glass, aluminum shapes, rubber and chemicals from China by our own transport, and we can deliver any cargo suitable for transportation in a tilt semi-trailer.”
REFERENCE. TELS Group has been carrying out freight transportation to / from China by all modes of transport. We deliver a wide variety of cargo including high-precision medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, sophisticated electrical components, manufacturing equipment, accumulator batteries, consumer goods, chemical raw materials, heavy dangerous goods, etc.
Until recently, all logistics schemes included sea, air and rail transport, while road transport was used for deliveries not further than 50 kimometres from the border. Now we can use road transport to deliver goods to inland regions of China.
In most cases, the customer is offered several delivery schemes. Besides, the customer can use the existing schemes to optimize their logistics costs in various cases of their own business.