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  RUSSIAN TYRE DEALER CRITICISES OTR RETREADING SECTOR The Russian OTR tyre segment is dominated by Chinese suppliers, while local retreading businesses have yet to make a difference, Vasily Rakitin, director of the Russian tyre distributor ERT-Group recently told local news outlet IGrader. “Unfortunately, there is practically no alternative to Chinese tyres,” Rakitin said, describing the state of play in the Russian OTR tyre market. “Small shipments are coming from Turkey; some are delivered from India, but as a rule, in small sizes. Currently, 90% of the Russian market is oriented towards China.” According to Rakitin, some Russian companies have started tyre retreading, and it certainly works for trucks, where in some cases, new treads on used casings have proved to be even more effective than a new tyre due to the bigger tread depth. Rakitin, however, claimed that this approach does not work for mining operations. “With the cold vulcanisation method, the placed tread under load peels off like banana peel,” he claimed, adding that “hot vulcanisation secures slightly better results.” Most problems with OTR tyre use in Russia are seen during the summer months, especially in the segment of machinery with a carrying capacity above 90 tonnes. Rakitin explained that as the temperature rises, these tyres overheat and fail. He recalled that Western companies like Bridgestone and Michelin managed to find special rubber compounds for these conditions, so their prod- ucts coped. However, over the past year, some Western brands pulled out of the country. “In Russia, it is customary to use treads up to the very end. Because of this, OTR tyre retreading is associated with additional challeng- es,” Rakitin stated. In light of this and some other issues, Rakitin has called on the au- thorities to revise some state technical standards regulating the domestic tyre market. He noted that the most recent state stan- dards in the field were adopted 20 years ago, while on average, this figure is closer to 30 or 40 years. “Some of the standards, figurately speaking, ‘have seen Lenin alive’ and have not been relevant for some time,” Rakitin said. In the long run, Rakitin claimed, it would be logical to establish an OTR tyre production in Russia. Currently, all tyres in this segment of the market are imported. “Establishing local production would require substantial investments and support from the state,” Raki- tin stated. COUNTRY REPORT - RUSSIA    P.14 

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