© Khunaspix Dreamstime.

It’s Day One of Tiaca’s executive summit and AGM, in Moscow this year. It’s not the most user-friendly city to have chosen, with its tough visa requirements (remember India, anyone?), nor is it the most central spot in the world, nor the cheapest.

So The Loadstar isn’t there. But we can, however, report on the event from afar for those unable to make the trek – or satisfy Russia’s famously intransigent visa requirements.

Some sources have questioned why it’s in Moscow, where there is danger of a low turnout. (About 50 international visitors, is the estimate from the floor). Is it that Tiaca needed the sponsorship money?

Alternatively, this could be the way that Tiaca is reaching out to a wider audience, as it had planned to do, to ensure emerging markets are covered.

Anyway, in Russia it is. And the event kicked off with a message from the sponsor, Mr Isaikin himself, the contents of which amounted to little, bordering on nothing.

Next up was the keynote speaker, Valery Okulov, deputy minister of transport, former CEO of Aeroflot, and a man whose career hasn’t been entirely without controversy, particularly since the death of his father-in-law, Boris Yeltsin.

One wonders for how long, in fact, his place in the transport ministry is secure. His nominator for the job, minister of transport Igor Levitin, has moved on to the Kremlin, to be replaced by Maksim Sokolov in Medvedev’s recent “comical” reshuffle. Sokolov – not a transport man, as the Tiaca crowd were quick to note – was director of the government department for trade and infrastructure and previously worked in the St. Petersburg city government.

But back to Tiaca. Unfortunately, whoever prepared Mr Okulov’s speech hadn’t quite done their homework properly – Cargoitalia, sadly, no longer has a stop off in Russia, or anywhere elsefor that matter.

Mr Okulov also promised a rather ambitious timetable for the implementation of e-freight in Russia – a mere three or four years away – to the surprise of many who know what a complicated business it can be, even in the simplest of countries.

The surprise was compounded by the unfortunate Larisa Korshunova, from Russia’s Federal Customs Service, who battled questions from the floor with courage. Why does documentation have to be in Russian? How can e-freight prevail under such complex regulations?

Her answer, that the regulations are not down to Customs but instead to various different ministries, spells trouble for Okulov’s grand plans for e-freight. In fact, say some observers, the complicated set-up, involving several ministries behind Russia’s archaic Customs regulations could take years to sort out.

This post is an updated version of an earlier one. From time to time, The Loadstar and its stringers have – and probably will – get it wrong, for which we apologise.

Comment on this article

You must be logged in to post a comment.
  • Daniel Fernandez

    May 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Hi Alex,

    Indeed the reason to go to Moscow was to connect with this important region. Opening up the door to growing regions may bring complexities such as visa requirements but surely that cannot be a reason to hide in our protected comfortable world that we know?

    Attendance of 200 with the largest contingent coming from the local region is exactly why TIACA does schedule meetings in logistically less traditionally strong places. In fact the number of attendants of these meetings have been stable over the last years.

    And finally we are lucky to have hosts like Volga-Dnepr who are prepared to help the local organization and act as perfect hosts. Despite that TIACA spends a significant amount of money to organize these meetings and certainly does not make any profit out of the Executive Summit.

    Best regards,

    Daniel Fernandez
    Secretary General