* Railway says halted 34 trans to Vanino
* Experts say Russia needs investments into infrastructure
MOSCOW Feb 20 Hundreds of rail cars loaded with
oil products have been blocked for days on their way to Russia's
Pacific port of Vanino due to bad weather and traffic
bottlenecks, highlighting the need for investment in the
country's creaking infrastructure.
Industry officials and experts have long been complaining
about the high costs of state-controlled transport, saying years
of underinvestment were taking a toll on shipping and rail
links, which span thousands of kilometres across the world's
According to the government's estimates, Russia will need to
invest $1 trillion, almost a half of its gross domestic product,
into infrastructure by 2020.
Andrey Rumyantsev, a spokesman for oil producer Alliance
which operates the Khabarovsk refinery
in Russia's far east, told Reuters on Wednesday that some 260
Vanino-bound rail cars carrying naphtha and fuel oil had been
held up for several days.
A spokeswoman for Russian Railways said the operator had
halted 34 trains bound for the Pacific ports due to "poor
technical equipment of cargo off-takers".
According to Russian Railways' statistics, the country's far
eastern ports, such as Vanino, Nakhodka and Slavyanka, saw oil
product exports fall by 16.3 percent to 518,940 tonnes in
January from December.
Last year, refined product exports from the Transbunker
Vanino terminal, a part of the port, amounted to 2.8 million
The logjam is exacerbated by the necessity to de-frost coal,
which arrives by rail to the port.
According to the administration of Vanino port, the shipping
traffic can only be unblocked using the "Krasin" icebreaker. r.reuters.com/gud26t
A spokesman for Vanino port said the weather remained
unfavourable, with traffic at the port hampered by thick ice.
"The weather is not enjoyable. And the wind is blowing at
the wrong side, to the shore," Zakir Vagapov said.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Mark Potter)