Research and production corporation “United Wagon Company” (“UWC”, “the Holding” or “the Company”) (MOEX: UWGN) has shipped 26 tank cars for the transportation of molasses and vegetable oils to GATX Rail Vostok (a subsidiary of GATX Corporation, a leading global railcar lessor). The tank car is a new addition to UWC's product line and the only model on the 1520-mm gauge market for freight of this type with a stainless steel boiler and a bogie with an increased axle load of 25 t.
The 15-6900-04 model was developed by the All-Union Research and Development Centre for Transportation Technology and is manufactured at the TikhvinChemMash plant (both companies are part of the UWC railway holding).
One of the key advantages of the tank car is the unique design of its boiler, which is made from stainless steel and undergoes a series of special treatments (both mechanical and chemical) on its interior surface in accordance with the stricter demands of global food freight transportation standards. In particular, a chemical passivation process is used as part of the essential stainless steel treatment procedure during production, with the creation of a protective microfilm on the interior surface of the boiler. This approach ensures that the quality of the transported goods, including those, which are ready to use, is protected. The 15-6900-04 model tank car can be used to transport around 30 varieties of starch product and vegetable oils. Furthermore, the car provides maximum discharge volumes, even for viscous freight and under various temperature conditions, thanks to the boiler with a 'bent' axle and the car's heating system – an external steam jacket with a unique design.
The increased volume of the boiler and payload capacity (56 m3 and 74.4 tons respectively) allow the tank car's performance to meet its technical capabilities as fully as possible, providing loads that are 7–10 tons higher than the standard rolling stock used in the 1520-mm gauge area. This difference in load makes it possible to reduce the size of the required fleet by almost 10%.
A significant competitive advantage is the increased overhaul mileage, which allows for major reductions in operational expenditures over the entire life cycle of the railcar.
Elena Korolkova, Deputy CEO at GATX Rail Vostok, comments: “We value our partnership with United Wagon Company. There are already Tikhvin-produced cars for transporting caustic soda in the GATX Rail Vostok fleet. Our clients are showing real interest in models with increased payload capacity, and we are pleased to be able to offer them this fleet in partnership with UWC and gain practical experience in operating it. We are also happy to note that the UWC team shows a great degree of professionalism and an eagerness to meet all of our requirements.”
Ilya Shiyan, Commercial Director at UWC, adds: “We are pleased with the development of our partnership with GATX Rail Vostok. We hope that rolling out these tank cars for transporting molasses, which are new in the 1520-mm gauge area, will allow for the most efficient possible transportation of freight, preserving its quality and increasing market competitiveness for both the railway operator and the producer of the goods.”
The glucose syrup market in Russia is enjoying stable growth. Over the last five years, the production of molasses has grown by more than 40%, to 571,000 tons, setting an all-time record almost every year. Nevertheless, the volume of molasses transported across the rail infrastructure has grown by just 25%, to 175,000 tons. The majority of freight is transported by road. The current fleet of rail tank cars intended for transporting molasses is ageing and unfit for purpose. 60% of Russia's tank cars which are suitable for transporting molasses are currently being used to transport liquid fertiliser, while the operational life of 20% of the specialised fleet is set to expire before 2024.
Stainless steel boilers are recommended for the transportation of molasses, guaranteeing that the quality of the transported goods will be preserved, but 95% of the Russian fleet of cars for transporting molasses are made of ordinary carbon (“black”) steel. It is forecast that with the advent of stainless steel railcars on the market, the railway network will be able to take on higher freight volumes for transportation, and molasses manufacturers will be able to access reliable rolling stock, designed to optimise expenditure and preserve the product's high quality.