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Mechel-Trans: The railroad will be driven by a man - EastRussia |






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The railway will be mastered by the going

The railway will be mastered by the going

Mechel-Trans Managing Director Alexei Lebedev told EastRussia about overcoming the financial crisis and the course to the East, the distribution of cargo flows and the fight against the "square wheels".

- Alexey Viktorovich, against the background of the general crisis, “Mechel” is in a particularly difficult situation. The parent company is on the verge of bankruptcy, the subsidiaries have a lot of financial problems. How do you intend to turn the tide and do you have your own “plan B”?

- It sounds pompous, but we, as true patriots of our company, are confident that a bright future will come. Such confidence is not based on bare enthusiasm. The vector of decisions that the management of a group of companies takes is correct. We believe that the assets that Mechel has invested over the past few years will bring money to the group in the near future. I mean the main investment projects: the rail-mill at the Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant; Development of the Elginsky deposit, including the construction of a railway to it; as well as the technical re-equipment of the commercial port of Posiet in Primorye.

Yes, the situation is tense. However, the point is not even in relations with creditors, but in the general crisis - both in Russia and around the world. We are conducting a constructive dialogue with creditors. And I suppose there is a very real opportunity to reach a compromise. We are under some pressure, but the company is working. As always, no matter what. Mechel does not reject its goals, although, of course, we are forced to take into account the crisis in the economy. We have more stability than it seems. Instead of pessimistic forecasts, it’s better to look at things realistically and think strategically.

- It is not customary to get used to the crises of Russia. Does the experience of 1998 and 2008 help you?

- In 1998, we were not there yet - Mechel appeared in 2003. If we compare the situation with the 2008 year, then hopes for improvement in a global sense are connected at least with a small revival of the economy. As for the devaluation of the ruble, for us, like any exporters, this is not so tragic as for a business operating exclusively on the Russian markets. For coal and metal, which we ship abroad, payments are made in foreign currency. And we have clear and adequate plans for how to develop further.

- And what?

- Historically, Mechel is a mining and metallurgical holding, whose products are found by consumers both in Russia and abroad. Therefore, the transport division of the company, which I now head, has always been focused on finding the best assets that are reasonable from the point of view of transport logistics. One of the most promising investments was the Mechel-Temryuk port in the south of Russia. The matter is not only in its successful geographical position, given the sales development strategy in the Azov-Black Sea basin. At present, many of some of the nearest operating ports (in particular, in Novorossiysk) are trying to refuse to handle coal. Temryuk is a universal port, we transship not only coal, but also coke, cement, metal, we deal with oil cargoes, and we work with our cargoes as well as with third-party ones. In the port of "Mechel-Temryuk" we are interested in terms of improving competitiveness and reducing operating costs. In the 2015 year, we expect to increase the freight turnover by almost a third, to 1,5 million tons.

The commercial port of Posyet in Primorsky Krai is in the logistic segment of the Mechel group, without exaggeration, a “pearl”. We pin our hopes on it in connection with its extremely convenient geographical position, and in the context of geopolitical and economic interests. The fixed assets are now being invested in the technical re-equipment of the port, in the framework of which in the coming years we plan to reach the volume of transshipment of 12 million tons. This year we will pass the order of 5,5 million tons, next year we plan to reach the design capacity of 7 million tons of coal.

In Posiete we started working with the classical transshipment scheme: a berth and portal equipment (cranes). The technical re-equipment project envisaged the installation of a specialized transshipment port complex. Its construction after a number of tender procedures was entrusted to the company ThyssenKrupp, which is respected in the world market. In a short time, a system of car dumper was assembled-that is, the unloading of coal from the car is carried out not in the old-fashioned way, by grabbing (load-lifting with cranes and buckets), and the car drives inside the complex and it is turned in its entirety, which increases the speed of cargo transshipment several times.

Port Posite Mechel plans to develop further. But this requires additional investment. There are plans to build a deep-water berth for receiving and sending cargoes by Panamax class vessels - this requires depths of 14-16 meters. In addition, work with such vessels involves the construction of a deep-water approach channel. It can not do without the help of the state, since the water area of ​​the seaport is in state property. To resolve this issue, we are negotiating with Rosmorport, the state structure that oversees the safety of shipping, construction of ports, berths, etc. The state invests in infrastructure development, including ports, this is an important strategic goal. We have the necessary capacities and experience.

- In this regard, the question: how great is the value of JSC Port Vanino for you now, after all the vicissitudes connected with it?

- Vanino Port is the nearest way to the countries of the Asia-Pacific Region. Logistics for us if not perfect, it's very comfortable. For today, the consortium of co-owners of this port gives us the opportunity to transship 250-350 cars per month. Last year through Vanino passed 3,8 million tons of our coal. This year will be about 4,5 million tons. So we have mutual interest. But I can not compare the importance of the ports of Vanino and Poset - disparate values.

- In many ways, the complexity for large companies in the Russian regions is created by the so-called "human factor" - social problems, interaction with local authorities on this basis. In the Far East, do you have such difficulties?

- No, with the heads of Primorye and Khabarovsk Territory, for example, we have an excellent interaction. All arising questions are resolved clearly, regional authorities demonstrate interest in our successful work. We, in turn, bear social responsibility to the employees of our enterprises living in these regions, and fulfill their obligations.

- Comment on the latest events with another large-scale project of the Mechel Group - the construction of a railway to the Elga field in South Yakutia? As far as can be judged, the project was extremely costly and in the current situation “cargo can sink a vessel” is not so right?

- Coal of Elginskoye field has excellent quality characteristics by world standards. The stripping ratio there is 3-4. Coal is almost under your feet. This makes the Elgin project very attractive for investment. Unfortunately, the deposit is remote from the developed transport infrastructure, and there was no other way out than to build a railway to it. In 2000-x years, the Ministry of Railways decided to start construction. As a result, the first 60 kilometers of the railway line were laid. In this state, the object also went to Mechel. When in 2007 Yakutugol was acquired, a license for the development of the Elginskoye field and a section of an unfinished railway were attached to it. We can say that from now on Mechel has consciously headed for the East. It was necessary to build an 321 kilometer railway to Elga. The company invested in this construction of 2,5 billion dollars. Today we went out to the monthly volume of coal shipment from Elga to 200 thousand tons, which, in turn, in 2015 year will allow us to master approximately 3 million tons per year. The development of the Elga is important not only in the scale of Mechel, but the whole country. In addition to the huge already proven reserves of coal, there is also molybdenum, and gold, and iron ore. The Minister of Geology of the USSR, Yevgeny Kozlovsky, once noted that this is "a raw material base worth more than 600 billion dollars." All these riches now lie near the laid railway track. To develop such deposits is possible only with the attraction of investments, but these funds and return will give a colossal. In the current economic situation, Russian coal miners have a real chance to increase their competitiveness in the APR markets - due to the relative proximity of a number of fields to the Far Eastern port facilities.

- Recently, it is constantly said that China is developing a "new Silk Road" with container transportation for 8-12 days instead of 45 current by sea, in this connection Transsib and BAM can "empty", unable to withstand competition, and therefore develop they do not make sense. Do you share such fears?

- The position of RZD is pragmatic today. Reconstruction of BAM and Transsib is subject to simple logic: there is a road - there will be life. The project is aimed at increasing the share of exports of the same coal. According to statistics in the Asia-Pacific region, Russian coal accounts for about 5-6% of imports. Agree, not so much. If you look at the situation in the context of the development of the Far East, then industrialists, railwaymen and porters are "in the same harness". Programs for the development of the Russian coal industry, the maritime port infrastructure, the development of the Eastern landfill - they logically complement each other. The number of cargoes passing through the Eastern range is, in general, sufficient to preserve existing capacities without development. But "live" investment projects, like Elginsky, require more. Therefore, when calculating investments for the reconstruction of the railway infrastructure of the Eastern landfill (562 billion rubles), the cargo base of the Elginskoye field was also considered - 12 million tons per year.

- How are your relationships with RZD developing? Is there still an agreement that the already constructed branch to the Elginsky deposit will be transferred to their ownership?

- We, in my opinion, have fruitful cooperation and good working relations. We are in constant contact with all the specialized services of Russian Railways. Today, Russian Railways has taken a course for development, and from the infrastructure company the vector is shifted to client-oriented transport and logistics, with Europe's largest, therefore, we - customers, consignors and consignees - are constantly offered new logistics products. So, in particular, we took great pleasure in their initiative to introduce the so-called KTLO service - an integrated transport and logistics service. In other words, the movement of goods on the "tight lines of the schedule." By and large this is the same as for a passenger to buy a ticket to the Nevsky Express and arrive from Moscow to St. Petersburg on schedule. Our coal compositions are sent by rail on a pre-formed schedule. We, as cargo owners, are vitally interested in ensuring that the logistics are clear, and we could plan further work: freight, the supply of ships, the arrangement of port facilities for a particular consignment.

As for the transfer of RZhD to the Ulak-Elga line, this question has long been on the edge of the "information wave". Such an acquisition would allow RZhD to increase cargo volumes faster ... Much depends on the financial component. RZD, as is known, has its own debt load. But everyone understands that this part of the railway in the whole country is significant for the future development of the Far East, therefore, state support would be fully justified. So far, unfortunately, the economic situation in the country is not in favor of such a decision.

- And who are your nearest competitors? How do they influence the work of Mechel transport companies?

- Mechel-Trans is a completely independent division, we work autonomously and in absolutely market conditions. The transport division Mechel carries out not only transshipment of cargoes in ports, but also transport - rail and road transport. Today, our transport-logistic flows are distributed in the proportion of 30 to 70. That is 30% - the central and western part of Russia and 70% - the Far East.

We are a captive (intercompany) transport operator. The effectiveness of own railway or car fleet is assessed by the key criterion - optimization of transport costs. If we talk about the railway transport, which is the main part of our park, then this is 12 thousand gondola cars. The total volume of transportation is about 50 million tons of cargo per year (coal, metals, iron ore concentrate, etc.). Our own fleet we transport more than 25% of this volume, the rest is distributed among the leading players of the railway transport market.

Our main strategic partner in railway transport is JSC Federal Freight Company, the founder of which is RZD. We also work with operators of such large parks as First Freight Company, RG-Trans, Zapsib-Transservice, Globaltrans, RT-Operator and others. We are in the market and for the enterprises of the Mechel Group we also apply market rates. Our own fleet is mainly leasing, we bear a fairly high financial burden - with which we cope. I note that leasing companies are meeting us. In particular, with the "VTB Leasing" in the negotiation process, we managed to restructure the leasing portfolio.

In the logistics business, a large-scale approach is important, and at the same time - flexibility. One of the main directions for us now is the maintenance of third-party clients both by own and attracted by the park. What, in fact, is professionalism manifested in - the ability to be attractive in the market and the quality of services, and at their cost, to find optimal solutions, to fully control the cargo flows. Nothing is impossible. And that the wheel does not become square, he needs to constantly spin. "The road will be mastered by the going" - the old truth, it is repeated all and always. It lies at the heart of our current ideology as well as possible. And while there are debates about the prospect of the Mechel group, while we are "divided into parts", etc., we continue to work intensively. We do not hide our heads in the sand, we do not tear our shirt on our chests. And we know for sure that everything is judged by deeds and achievements.


Mechel-Trans Management Company LLC is a member of the Mechel group of companies. It specializes in the carriage of goods by rail, road and water transport, as well as provides freight forwarding services. The main activity of the company is the organization of domestic and export-import transportation. Carries coal concentrate, coal, iron ore concentrate, metal, crushed stone, coke and iron ore pellets, which are sold both within the country and abroad. Taking into account the scale of production and location of enterprises belonging to the Mechel Group, as well as product sales markets, transportation geography covers almost the entire continent.

The general director is Aleksey Viktorovich Lebedev (appointed in December 2013, previously headed Mechel-Trans Auto LLC).