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Feb 21, 2018

"We need new logistics projects to reduce freight delivery times on the continent to several days," says Oleg Belozerov

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The implementation of global logistics projects is the key to successful economic development, said Oleg Belozerov, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Russian Railways.

Belozerov was speaking at the plenary discussion "The Eurasia Corridor and the New Silk Road" at the International Railway Business Forum "Strategic Partnership 1520: Central Europe".

"The initiative to create the New Silk Road, a corridor for the delivery of goods from Asia to the EU, is very important,” said Oleg Belozerov. The geography of this initiative is impressive: nearly 70% of the world’s population is in the “gravitational zone” of this project and about 60% of the world's gross product,"

According to preliminary forecasts, the volume of transport between China and the European Union by 2040 should reach 40 million Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs). At the same time, experts also forecast that a significant amount of freight will switch to the railways due to new infrastructure capabilities and service quality.

"The Eurasian Economic Community’s railway network traditionally plays the role of a land bridge linking the largest economies of Europe and Asia. But despite all the unique advantages of this position, we understand that it is impossible to rest on our laurels. The world is changing very quickly and it is necessary to meet the ever increasing demands the economy places on us as soon as possible. In 2017, Russian Railways invested nearly 7 billion euros in infrastructure development and projects. In 2018, we plan to invest even more, with the expectation of bringing the total volume of investments to more than 110 billion euros by 2025," said Oleg Belozerov.

The colossal potential of rail transport is amply demonstrated by the increasing levels of international transit shipments in recent years. In 2017, 21.6 million tons of transit freight were shipped on the network of Russian Railways, an increase of 16% compared to the level of 2016, while container shipments rose to 415,000 TEUs, a jump of 60% on 2016.

The existing infrastructure allows freight to by delivered from Russia’s eastern to western borders by rail in just 7 days.

According to the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Russian Railways, the Company's efforts today are aimed at further reducing delivery times and expanding the geography of services.

"The most important project in this regard is the construction of a railway line with the 1520 mm broad track gauge to Bratislava and Vienna, which gives a very good economic effect to all participants and has a minimal impact on state budgets," said Oleg Belozerov.

The project involves the creation of a new Eurasian transport corridor by extending the broad-gauge railway line from Košice in the Slovak Republic to Bratislava with access to Vienna (400 km) and the creation of an international logistics centre in the Vienna-Bratislava region. The work is being carried out as part of the joint venture Breitspur Planungsgesellschaft, which was established in 2009 with the participation of Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia and Austria and registered in Austria.

The project’s advantage is its unique potential for integration. It can become a platform for working out and combining the legislation, standards and operational practice of the two railway systems because the line will be built and operated according to EU norms, but it also takes into account the technical norms and rules of the 1520 mm Russian broad gauge track.

Another answer to the challenges of the time, according to the head of Russian Railways, is the international "Eurasia" project, which consists of a high-speed freight and passenger railway corridor.

"The Eurasia High Speed Line should unite the "Euro Kareks" system and the Chinese High Speed network, and then we will be able to create an absolutely new high-speed model for movement on the Eurasian continent," concluded Oleg Belozerov.

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