Cheaper without a driver - Newspaper Kommersant No. 14 (7459) dated 01/26/2023

Cheaper without a driver - Newspaper Kommersant No. 14 (7459) dated 01/26/2023

The Ministry of Transport proposes to establish preferential tariffs for the future transportation of goods by unmanned trucks along the M-11 highway, and the revenues lost because of this are to be subsidized by the operator of such flights from the budget. The department expects that a tariff 10% below the market average will be attractive to shippers and encourage them to use "highly automated vehicles." The first such flight along the M-11 is scheduled for May, the traffic of drones on this route planned already this year is 2.5 thousand passages with a cargo turnover of 32.7 million ton-kilometers.

The Ministry of Transport has developed a draft rule for granting subsidies from the federal budget in 2023 to compensate for the shortfall in income received by the operator of unmanned cargo transportation along the M-11 Neva highway (the Moscow-St. Petersburg toll road). The corresponding draft government decree is posted on

The operator of unmanned cargo transportation along the M-11 is KAMAZ Innovation Center LLC, the amount of the subsidy allocated to it in 2023 will be 41.3 million rubles. In fact, this money is allocated to the operator so that he can set reasonable rates for companies that send goods by unmanned trucks - without a subsidy, such transportation would be more expensive than usual. According to project participants, the first unmanned commercial flight on the M-11 could take place as early as May this year.

The explanatory note to the draft resolution states that the increased cost of transporting goods using "highly automated vehicles and the presence of a test driver in the cabin does not allow setting a competitive tariff" for such flights and achieving profitability. Therefore, the Ministry of Transport proposes to establish a preferential fee for such transportation for shippers, which will be 10% lower than the market average.

Let us explain that unmanned cargo transportation along the Moscow-St. This project involves manufacturers of highly automated trucks (KAMAZ and NPO Starline), carriers (Globaltruck Logistic, Magnit, X5 Transport) and the road infrastructure operator, Avtodor State Company. The Ministry of Transport told Kommersant that the issue of making changes to the corresponding EPR program "in order to include EC KAMAZ in the number of participants in the experimental legal regime" is being worked out.

“We believe in this project, and in the future, when increasing the volume of transportation by unmanned vehicles, as well as shaping the consumer’s understanding that this service guarantees speed and quality at a comfortable rate, the amount of subsidies will definitely be reduced (until the project reaches a commercial payback)”, - said Maria Stepanova, Deputy General Director of Globaltrak Logistic, to Kommersant.

The Digital Transport and Logistics Association told Kommersant that, according to the passport of the Unmanned Logistics Corridors project, the planned traffic of highly automated vehicles on the M-11 Neva highway in 2023 is 2.5 thousand passages, in 2024 - 11 thousand. The level of cargo turnover is planned in the amount of 32.7 million and 143 million ton-kilometers, respectively.

Despite such accuracy in the plans of officials, the future number of unmanned trucks on the M-11 is not yet known. As part of the experiment, KAMAZ earlier promised to bring five “its” unmanned trucks to the M-11 in 2023, and up to 50 in 2024. Globaltruck Logistic says that, together with KAMAZ, they plan to increase the number of permanently working on the M by 2025 -11 unmanned tractors with a full load of up to ten. The press service of Magnit told Kommersant that the company is participating in the EPR program as an expert in testing the initiative, and also acts as a consignor and consignee. “We do not plan to release our own cars on the track. At the same time, we intend to ensure the loading of unmanned vehicles participating in the experiment: the volume of products from Magnit can reach 18.6 million ton-kilometers per year,” the company said.

Venera Petrova

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