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Saturday, March 17, 2018

China relies on railway expansion at the expense of Russia

As the world leader in high speed rail transportation, China is ready to implement such projects in Russia. In this case we are talking not only about the ambitious idea for the construction of the highway Moscow – Beijing: recently, the portfolio of Russian-Chinese initiatives in the field of railway transport has increased significantly.

Russia’s intentions to implement the project of high-speed railway (HSR) Moscow – Beijing the President of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov confirmed at the end of may at the meeting with the Chairman of the Board China railway Corporation (CREC) Whether Canzine. “We consider this project as the most important stage of formation of the high-speed corridor Moscow – Beijing. In addition, we see in it infrastructure for the Eurasian economic integration – the development of the Economic belt of the silk road” – said Belozerov. In response, the Chinese side expressed interest in working on other projects in Russia.

The parade of mega-projects

“Now the cost of HSR Moscow – Kazan is estimated at 1,068 trillion rubles, and the HSR project Moscow – Beijing length 7769 km – 7 trillion rubles”

One of the interesting proposals of this type was made Whether Chancing a few days later during the Russian-Chinese forum for small and medium business, held in Sochi. The head of the Chinese Railways and the Governor of Chelyabinsk region Boris Dubrovsky agreed to establish a working group on construction of high speed railway Chelyabinsk – Yekaterinburg. It is assumed that its load will be 4.5–5 million people a year, and the path between the two largest cities of the Urals is only 1 hour and 10 minutes. This line is considered as part of the HSR Moscow – Beijing, as well as a pilot line in this corridor from Moscow to Kazan. Engineering surveys for preparing design documentation will be completed in June.

High-speed railway with the participation of Chinese investors can be built in the Samara region on the site Samara – Kurumoch airport – Tolyatti on the eve of the world football championship 2018. A Memorandum on the implementation of this project was signed on 1 June, but a final decision on it, the Chinese have to take in August. Currently considered two options: either to upgrade the existing railway line with increase of speed of trains to 200 kilometers per hour, or build a new one with a speed of 300 kilometers per hour. Offer to work together in the Samara region was announced to Chinese investors as recently as March, when Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich attended the Asian economic forum in Boao.

Another large-scale initiative was announced recently in the far East. Vice-President of the Chinese Railways, Zhang Xian and Vice-President of the Russian Summa group Vyacheslav Bakaev signed a Memorandum on creating a joint venture for the construction of external land transport infrastructure in the port of Zarubino in the Primorsky region. From this port it is planned to send to China the Russian export cargoes, and also provide transshipment from the North-Eastern provinces of China in the South. Investment in the development of the Zarubino port should be more than 200 billion rubles. However, on the prospects of cooperation with the Chinese head of the “Amount” Ziyavudin Magomedov noticed that so far only discussed the concept.

Active cooperation with China is a relatively recent area of work of the Railways. A Memorandum of cooperation on HSR Moscow – Beijing was signed in October 2014, just a few months before the resignation of the former President of the company Vladimir Yakunin, who was famous for love to such megaprojects. However, in this case the original intention Yakunin were relatively modest: to build a high-speed highway Moscow – Ekaterinburg, and later for financial reasons, the route was reduced to cut the Moscow – Kazan. But numerous attempts of the head of Russian Railways to get money for this project from the Federal budget and did not succeed. In November 2013, the government decided to postpone its implementation until 2020, and then Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said bluntly that the project was too expensive (at the time it was estimated at 928 billion rubles).

Actually, after this project and were Chinese who had agreed to participate on a concession basis. At the time of signing of the Memorandum spoke of the readiness of Chinese investors to invest in the highway Moscow – Kazan 400 billion rubles, and the Russian side planned to attract the 380 billion rubles from the Federal budget. Now the cost of HSR Moscow – Kazan is estimated at 1,068 trillion rubles, and the HSR project Moscow – Beijing length 7769 km – 7 trillion rubles. A number of experts of the rail market claim to build the CSM with the Chinese will be much cheaper than in the case of the involvement of European partners.

Passengers instead of cargo

For China, participation in the projects of construction of HSR in Russia is a logical continuation of “home” projects, which are, without exaggeration, epic. Over the past ten years in China was built about 19 thousand kilometers of high-speed Railways, and by 2020, their length should reach 25-30 thousand kilometers with a total investment of about 300 billion dollars. At the end of March at a meeting on railway construction Vice-Premier of the PRC state Council MA Kai said that in the period of the 13th five-year plan (2016-2020) is necessary to keep the scale of investment in the railway sector at the same level.

External rail the expansion of China began several years ago. For example, in 2013, it was announced several major projects in Africa: the construction of a branch of Mombasa – Nairobi in Kenya (cost – $ 4 billion), redevelopment of the highway between the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and port of Djibouti ($3 billion) and several others. Very active Chinese railroad workers behave and the former Soviet Union. In the framework of the New silk road project was the planned construction of several Railways linking China with the countries of Central Asia. One of the first real adventure in this series was completed recently the construction of a 19 km long tunnel through the Kamchik pass in Eastern Uzbekistan with a value of 1.68 billion dollars. It is the largest facility in its class in Central Asia and provides rail links the Fergana valley with the rest of the territory of Uzbekistan, and also with the system of Railways of Kyrgyzstan and China.

In Russia, the obvious priority of the Chinese railroad is building high-speed rail, and they are willing to enter into such projects not only through the “main entrance” – the management of Russian Railways and the Federal government, but also through the regions. For example, in may of last year the delegation of China suggested to the Governor of Primorsky Krai Vladimir Miklushevsky to a high-speed railway linking Vladivostok and neighbouring China town, Hunchun.

“Joint Russian-Chinese initiatives in the sphere of development of railway infrastructure there are many, but the Chinese side is fixated on the passenger VSM, – said General Director of research Agency Infranews Alexey Bezborodov. – The level of investment in freight transport infrastructure still lags far behind our needs, although Russian Railways, and Kazakhstan Railways ready fold increase transit.”

This, in particular, by the last year’s statistics of transit transportations on the TRANS-Siberian railway to China. Despite the drop in domestic transportation, the volume of transit in 2015, increased from 80% to 400,6 thousand TEU (20-foot container equivalent). And in the first quarter of this year, transit to China grew by 58% compared to the same period last year.

A revitalized transit, contributing to the development of transport and logistics infrastructure, there and back. At the recent Russian-Chinese business forum in Sochi the Vice-Governor of the Kaluga region Alexei Laptev said that the participation of Samsung, the Chinese port of Dalian government China managed three times to reduce the time of cargo delivery from China to Central Russia and further to Europe – to station Vorsino Kaluga region the goods are now delivered for 9.5 days. According to Lapteva, Russia and China are working on the route rapid rail transit to Europe, in particular in the Luxembourg and Copenhagen.

Train friendship with China can become even stronger after the next international economic forum in St. Petersburg, which will be held this month. As reported a few days ago, Arkady Dvorkovich, he does not exclude that during this event with a number of companies from China can be signed “sign contracts”.

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