Arrow on Target for Shippers in Russia and the CIS

Advance International is increasing its involvement in the provision of intermodal railfreight services, which commenced a few years ago when it established the Advantage Express Service to offer an intermodal rail operation between Almaty in Kazakhstan and the Georgian port of Poti.

Istanbul, Turkey, March 15, 2008 --( Arrow Railway Forwarding PLC is the company’s new joint venture formed to market freight capacity and help forwarders and shippers access rolling stock throughout Russia and countries within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The company has also gained exclusive rights to market Russian Railways’ (RZD’s) capacity in Azerbaijan and Georgia through RZD’s recently launched subsidiary First Freight Company.

The joint venture has been established at a time when freight on Russian Railways is enjoying a significant boost as RZD seeks to extend its role as land bridge for cargo moving between Asia and Europe via the countries of the CIS, whilst also announcing plans to refurbish more than 17,000 freight cars and nearly 800 locomotives this year.

Arrow Railway Forwarding PLC is headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria and is headed by Yordan Petrov, who until recently was Bulgarian Railways’ (BDZ’s) Operations Director. Advance Bulgaria, the local arm of Istanbul-based freight forwarder Advance International, has a 50% shareholding of Arrow Railway Forwarding PLC, while local commercial interests own the remainder.

Mr Petrov says: “Arrow Railway Forwarding PLC can move any type of cargo across the borders of any of the 12 countries within the CIS, as well as the three Baltic States, which are now part of the European Union.

“We have access to over 300,000 rail wagons of every type and can transport everything moved by rail – from wine to oil in tankers, bulk grain in silo wagons, bulk minerals in bottom-discharging wagons to automobiles in double-deck car carriers. First Freight has announced it is to acquire more than 70,000 wagons by 2012. There hasn’t been a better time to be involved in marketing Russian Railways’ freight capacity.”

Advance International will arrange appropriate documentation and Letters of Credit where required, with liability insurance cover and FIATA Bills of Lading from any origin outside and inside the CIS to any destination, especially in connection with shipments to and from Iran and Iraq via the company’s Astara Transit Terminal on the Azerbaijani and Iranian border.

Advance International President & CEO, Mr Jawad Kamel believes that the establishment of the Arrow Railway Forwarding PLC joint venture could not have come at a better time. He says: “I definitely believe the future of freight transport is rail.

“With crude oil prices hitting USD110 per barrel and showing no signs of falling in the medium term, rail ticks all the right boxes for today’s environmentally-conscious shipper. The combination of Arrow and Advance can guarantee and supply rail services within Russia and the CIS that are second to none.

“Our Advantage Express rail freight service has become a viable and timely alternative to sea freight for breakbulk and container cargoes moving between China, Kazakhstan and markets in Russia, the CIS and Europe. Our Astara Transit Terminal offers the most effective intermodal border gateway for the Iranian marketplace. Now, through Arrow Forwarding, we are opening up the entire railway network in Russia and the CIS to our customers.”

Advance International Transport
Ian Matheson
+44 (0) 1689 860660