The second largest railcar manufacturer in Russia, Uralvagonzavod (UVZ, part of Rostec), has decided to convert half of its capacity for the production of fitting platforms for containers, Boris Myagkov, advisor to the general director of UVZ, told RBC. He recently returned to the company after working for over a year at United Wagon Company (UWC, market leader).
The decision to re-profile was made for two reasons - the global trend for container transportation and the overproduction of gondola cars in Russia, said Myagkov. He added that there is a "significant preponderance" in the transport of goods in containers. "They even want to transport coal in containers, so we see the prospects for growth in demand for platforms from Russian operators in the coming years," the adviser said.
According to him, now the plant produces "only a few units" of platforms. UVZ will start increasing their production at the end of 2021. The company has seven platform models in its portfolio.
Although UVZ believes that gondola cars will always be in demand, the demand for them is predicted to be lower than their current production. Now the plant's capacity is designed to produce 12,500 gondola cars per year, but the company can sell only 6,000-8,000 of them in any market, since replacing inefficient old-generation cars with innovative ones is inevitable, Myagkov said.
Since the end of 2019, there has been an overproduction of freight cars in Russia, including gondola cars that carry ore, coal and timber. The gondola car fleet has now reached a historic maximum of 526 thousand units. By 2025-2026, it can grow to 650 thousand even with a reduction in production to 10-15 thousand a year, experts predict.
Uralvagonzavod produces a wide range of engineering products, including freight cars and components for them. The company is 100% owned by the state corporation Rostec.
In addition to UVZ, fitting platforms in Russia, in particular, are produced by the Transmash plant (Engels, Saratov region), the asset of Iskandar Makhmudov, Andrei Bokarev, Dmitry Komissarov and Kirill Lipa, which is part of Transmashholding - the latter two are controlling shareholders, 20% owned French concern Alstom.