Window to China: logistics park of Russian Post for 4 billion opens in Kazan
How Minnikhanov scanned parcels and what he asked Nikiforov
The first plane from China with parcels from online shops of the Celestial Kingdom landed in Kazan on 30 January. Now all parcels ordered by residents of Tatarstan, Mari El, Chuvashia, Udmurtia, Samara and Ulyanovsk Oblast will come to Kazan, not Moscow. The capacities of the new logistics centre will enable to process up to 1,2 million parcels a day. The volume of international postal bookings has increased 15 times in the last 5 years and will grow despite the reducing limit on duty-free import. Functionaries and Realnoe Vremya's reporter saw what Russians bought in China with the help of X-rays on 30 January.
20 tonnes of parcels from Hangzhou
Branded Tu-204C of Russian Post landed at the airport of Kazan at 8.05. It is the first direct flight from Chinese Hangzhou, it had a total of 20 tonnes of parcels on board – it is what residents of Tatarstan, Mari El, Chuvashia, Udmurtia, Samara and Ulyanovsk Oblasts have ordered on the last days. If earlier all items arrived in Moscow first and then were distributed to regions, now the items for addressees living in these six regions of Volga Federal Okrug will be sent from Kazan.
It was just an official opening of the logistics post centre on 30 January, it started to work in test mode in December 2016 and processed only domestic postal items (that first arrived in Moscow and only then here), the launch was accompanied by several scandals. Buyers of Chinese online shops called it a ''black hole'' where parcels were sorted out for up to one month and got lost at times. Russian Post explained that the logistics centre had been working in test mode. However, buyers didn't feel better after this explanation.
The most interesting thing is the logistics centre still has complaints about the goods that got stuck there, the ''awaiters'' even created a community in a social network in which they try to look for their parcels together.
''A person bought bulbs''
However, disadvantages were not the point. Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications of Russia Nikolay Nikiforov emphasised: ''This facility is a good example of an advanced logistics postal infrastructure and complies with the latest international standards. You won't find such special equipment, so fast screening machines, inspection complex in any logistics centre.'' According to Deputy Head of the Federal Customs Service Ruslan Davydov, ''we almost don't remember the so-called New Year backlogs in the post.''
The logistics centre is located near the Kazan airport, on the territory of 36,000 square metres. Here parcels go through the customs and are sorted. Every parcel is screened by an X-ray machine. It's how post employees know what you ordered – socks or a phone. Investments in the construction and equipment of the new logistics centre are estimated at 4 billion rubles.
The officials observed shopping preferences of Russians.
''What's that? Is it bulbs?'' Minnikhanov specified.
''Yes, a person bought bulbs,'' Ruslan Davydov confirmed.
Now the logistics centre of Kazan sorts 500,000 parcels a day, the total capacity is 1,2 million parcels.
''The person doesn't cross the border, and the good does''
The interest of Russians in Chinese goods causes irritation of the authorities, precisely how much the country loses in customs payments. Now one can import goods for up to €1,000 and no more than 31 kg a month duty-free.
''There is no such a thing in the world. For instance, Finland reset the threshold. It is a new type of commerce. The person doesn't cross the border, and the good does. It means money for it must be paid. Because it's a trading volume. We had such a contradiction because natural people buy because nobody expected it would develop at such paces – we will have a twofold growth every year,'' Davydov told Minnikhanov while observing the work of the post screen.
The customs duty won't be imposed this year to the delight of fans of buying abroad. A gradual reduction of the limit on duty-free purchases for up to €500 will start from 1 January 2019, for €200 – from 1 January 2020. Ruslan Davydov noted that the customs duty in Belarus is already €22 like in many European countries. However, the post started to lose income there. If we hurry the event up, and this decision of the Eurasian Economic Commission allows it, Russia can lose income too.
''Another important moment is that we can't make a decision at the national level. Now we need to make one decision for the whole Eurasian Union because if we lower suddenly, everything will go through Kazakhstan, in Kazakhstan even one thousand [euro), it will be longer, and we won't get taxes,'' explains Nikolay Podguzov,'' director general of Russian Post.
50bn rubles for another five logistics centres in Russia
According to Ruslan Davydov, the limit at €1,000 was set before online shopping blossomed. ''The ideology was that a person flew abroad, it was permitted to bring some goods. Now when a million of such parcels fly a day, it is clear we need to deal with them in a different way. And our production suffers, we buy everything in China.''
However, the reduction of the duty-free import rate won't affect purchasing demand a lot, according to forecasts of authorities in Russia, unlike in Belarus. The volume of international parcels in Russia has grown 15 times in 5 years. Nikolay Nikiforov says it will grow 2-4 times more in the next years.
Russian Post counts on it. It plans to open another five logistics centres in the next two years – Khabarovsk, Rostov, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Saint Petersburg.
''Investments will total about 50 billion rubles. This service needs to develop not like sorting. We need to provide an integrated end-to-end service. When logistics provides all processes after pressing the button ''buy'' on a site. The client needs to click the product he liked, and then we need to join this process – to take the good, wrap it up, sort and deliver – and do it all in terms that are acceptable for the consumer,'' said Nikolay Podguzov to the journalists.
Message received: Minnikhanov asked Nikiforov
Now 700 people are working in the logistics centre in Kazan. The facility will be able to provide employment of 1,500 workers when it works full steam.
''I'm sure, Mr Nikiforov, you will ask additional space to expand this logistics complex. And we will help you with pleasure,'' Rustam Minnikhanov made a hint to Nikolay Nikiforov that they wouldn't like investments of the Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications in Tatarstan to end.
The opening of a hybrid mail centre is among the nearest plants on expanding the work of the logistics centre (a way of sending extracts and bills for services when the client sends a document via email, it's printed in the hybrid mail centre, packed into an envelope or mailed (packing letters for re-sending without an envelope) and sent to addressee) and fulfilment for online shopping operators.