EMP Karpaty manufactures 300 new grain hoppers

EMP Karpaty manufactures 300 new grain hoppers
© USAID ERA

These wagons are part of a larger initiative to assist agro-exporters in transporting Ukrainian grain to international markets during the ongoing conflict, thereby helping to maintain global food security.


The Experimental and Mechanical Plant "Karpaty" (EMP Karpaty) has recently completed the production of 190 grain hopper wagons for beneficiaries of the USAID Economic Resilience Activity (USAID ERA).

In 2023, EMP Karpaty received an order from USAID ERA to manufacture 50 wagons specifically for Nibulon, a prominent agro-exporter. This year, the demand has expanded, and EMP Karpaty is in the process of manufacturing 300 wagons, which represent 45% of the annual orders received by the company.

The demand for grain wagons has risen sharply due to the challenges faced by Ukrainian agro-exporters. With Russian efforts to block traditional sea and river port routes, exporters have shifted their logistics to rail, transporting grain to European Union countries. These grain hopper wagons, which can carry up to 70 tons each and are designed to be sealed against moisture, are crucial for this redirection.

At a production rate of three wagons per day, EMP Karpaty involves a diverse workforce including turners, welders, millers, metal cutters, and painters. The war has led to staffing challenges, with many employees joining the military efforts. This has resulted in an increase in women taking on roles traditionally held by men and a push towards greater automation, including the introduction of automated welding machines to improve production efficiency.

© USAID ERA
© USAID ERA

Each grain wagon, weighing 23.5 tons, is predominantly made of Ukrainian components like axles, railway wheels, side frames, bolster beams, and brake equipment, with only the steel for the body being sourced from Europe. This approach supports the Ukrainian economy by utilizing local components.

During the ongoing invasion, grain hopper wagons have become a significant part of EMP Karpaty's operations, accounting for 75% of their workload. This surge in orders has enabled the company to maintain employment for 650 workers and meet their financial obligations, including tax payments.

Ukrainian wagon manufacturers, including EMP Karpaty, face ongoing supply chain disruptions, particularly for steel products. Before the war, some of these materials were sourced from Russian enterprises or Ukrainian factories that have since been destroyed. In response, EMP Karpaty has adapted by sourcing 95% of each wagon's components from Ukrainian producers.

With orders booked until August 2024, EMP Karpaty is not only focusing on grain wagons but also on producing cement wagons and carriers, which are essential for rebuilding Ukraine's infrastructure and housing. In 2023, Ukrainian wagon manufacturers produced a total of 1967 wagons, with EMP Karpaty leading by manufacturing 567 wagons, a 5% increase from the previous year.

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