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Mechel purchases 150 railcars to transport coal

Mechel PAO said Dec. 18 that it bought 150 new railcars between November and December for 467 million Russian rubles.

Mechel plans to acquire about another 1,000 open-top railcars in 2019 to transport coal.

The group's transport operator, Mecheltrans OOO, already manages approximately 11,000 train vehicle units.

The coal, iron and steel producer recently expanded a long-term coal supply deal with Japanese general trading company Itochu Corp. for up to 800,000 tonnes of coking and thermal coal between December 2018 and March 2020.

Itochu originally struck a deal for 300,000 tonnes of washed steam coal from Mechel's Southern Kuzbass Coal Co. Public Joint-Stock Co. in 2017.

"Over the past four years, some 150,000 gondola cars were scrapped in the Russian market due to expired life, which is practically a quarter of the entire fleet volume," Mecheltrans Management CEO Alexey Lebedev said.

He noted that the group is in discussions with railcar builders and leasing companies to expand its fleet.

As of Dec. 17, US$1 was equivalent to 66.66 Russian rubles.