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Monday, March 19, 2018

The international expansion of Russian Railways changes its direction

The new management of the Railways gradually priorities in a long list of international projects, initiated under former President of the company. It is clear that some megalomaniacal initiatives will go under the knife. But there are exceptions: in connection with the lifting of sanctions with Iran is a good opportunity to increase trade by rail with him, as well as with India.

The development of the transport corridor “North – South” should be one of the key directions in the international activity of Russian Railways. A few days ago with the Railways of Azerbaijan signed an agreement on tariff pass-through rate, which should make the rail freight transport in the direction of Iran and India more favorable. But many other international undertakings of the former management of the Russian Railways optimization, apparently, will not survive.

Gigantomania retreats

“To deliver a standard 40-foot container from Mumbai to Moscow through the ports of Novorossiysk or St. Petersburg costs 4 thousand dollars, and the railroad – 7 thousand dollars”

Vladimir Ivanovich Yakunin was a man of global thinking and Oleg Belozerova this is not observed,” – said a top Manager of international company, closely working with Russian Railways, replying to the question of the newspaper VIEW, what changes have occurred on the railroad after last year’s change of leadership. Indeed, Yakunin willingly signed various international initiatives, and the scale of its plans covered almost the whole world. The construction of Railways in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Libya and Ecuador, the reconstruction of the railway in North Korea, bringing the Russian railway gauge width of 1520 mm to Bratislava and Vienna is only a partial list of projects in which Russian Railways participated or planned to participate in the Yakunin.

But immediately after the change of the Railways, many experts and market players have suggested that the new President of the company Oleg Belozerov will be given to this area significantly less attention. For example, respondents Infranews called international (outside the Russian 1,520) projects Russian Railways “does not affect the transport of no importance in the whole political”.

Although officially, none of these projects, the railroad not yet, in the current agenda of Russian Railways they take up very little space. For example, the report Belozerova about the end of 2015 at the enlarged meeting of the Board of JSC “Russian Railways” international initiatives the company was dedicated only a few sentences. In particular, they mentioned projects such as the refurbishment of several railway sections in Serbia, the agreement on the electrification of the railway line Garmsar – Inceburun in Iran and work to prepare the construction of lines with 1,520 Kosice (Slovakia) – Bratislava – Vienna. The last project worth 6.25 billion euros was announced in 2010, but work on it was limited largely to declarations of intent on the part of governments of the participating countries.

In General, the megalomania of international projects of Russian Railways has been criticized. For example, the Director of the Kazakh company Smart Business Solutions Central Asia Kubat Rakhimov, commenting on announced a couple of years ago the idea to build a high-speed highway Moscow – Beijing cost 230 billion dollars, said the President of the Russian Railways it is better to get away from the gigantism with stranded projects. To carry on such a highway cargo unrealistic to count on the millions of transit of Chinese tourists at least naive. In turn, the political analyst Konstantin Kalachev has hinted that the megalomania could become a significant factor for Yakunin: in the changed economic conditions, “costly mega-projects will cause a misunderstanding”.

By the way, in a matter of days before his resignation the ex-President of the Russian Railways has launched another global initiative is to connect the Railways of Sakhalin and Japanese island Hokkaido.

A “window” in the Indian ocean


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