US-based automotive bearings manufacturer Timken has entered into an agreement with United Wagon Company (UWC) to set up a joint venture (JV) to manufacture Timken AP-2 rail bearings in Russia.

The JV is subject to regulatory approvals and other commercial and customary conditions. It will equip UWC’s freight cars with Timken bearings.

Timken AP-2 rail bearings are cartridge tapered roller bearings and have the potential to carry heavy loads.

"The expertise Timken provides is critical to our strategy to deliver modern, high-quality freight cars."

UWC CEO Roman Savushkin said: "The expertise Timken provides as a global leader in high-performance bearing design is critical to our strategy to deliver modern, high-quality freight cars to our customers in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States."

The companies will jointly establish a manufacturing capacity in the country, with work to begin within the next several months.

The JV forms a part of the existing relationship between the two companies, which was formalised in 2013 with a strategic partnership agreement including technical and design support and an initial supply of Timken AP-2 bearings to UWC.

Timken off-highway and light vehicle systems vice-president Brian Ruel said: "The Russian and CIS rail markets present an incredible growth opportunity for Timken as the region is rapidly modernising its fleet to support its expanding economy."

Russia is also planning to acquire nearly one million new freight cars by 2030 as part of an aggressive investment programme to renew and upgrade its rolling stock.