WHAT needs to be done in order to transport fresh fish by train from Northern Norway to Russia?
Researchers from the Norwegian research organisation Nofima have studied the options in a fresh report (13/5/2011).
Nofima, in collaboration with the Nordland Research Institute, was commissioned by Nordland County Council to evaluate whether the transportation of fresh fish from Northern Norway to Russia can be moved from the road network to the railway lines. The project report outlines critical market and institutional conditions of significance for a possible future shift to a railway-based transport solution.
Norway is exporting more and more fish to Russia despite import restrictions. From Nordland County alone, the amount shipped increased by 35 % from 2008 to 2009. In 2009, approximately 71,000 tonnes of farmed salmon and 41,000 tonnes of farmed trout was transported from Norway to Russia. In the main, it is fresh, chilled fish that is transported to Russia via Finland by truck.
Today´s practice is that the Russian importer takes over responsibility for the fish when it is loaded onto the truck in Norway and handles customs clearance, border and veterinary inspections and distribution within the Russian market. This offers clear advantages for the Norwegian exporters regarding offsetting the risk, quality and the ability to deliver.
Changing the transport formula from road to rail will involve risks associated with reloading and responsibility for the transport, which require further evaluation. The report also refers to greater limitations on the Russian side, such as a lack of refrigerated freight cars as well as generally poor freight forwarding systems at the terminal stations.
The importers have an expectation that rail freight will be cheaper than road freight and that it will be possible to avoid customs clearance at the border. However, uncertainty remains about these conditions.
A further report will be able to clarify the true cost level, the exporters´ actual preferences relating to the use of rail freight instead of today´s transport solution and a more in-depth study of critical framework conditions on the Russian side.
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The project report in Norwegian: http://nordlandsforskning.no/files/Rapporter%202010/Rapport_april2010c.pdf