Oleg Belozerov: Russian Railways offers to develop infrastructure of cities in cooperation with other modes of transport
The State Duma of the Russian Federation has hosted a Day of Russian Railways dedicated to the results of the rail industry in 2017 and the long-term development programme of Russian Railways.
Within the framework of the event, an exhibition displayed key projects of the RZD Holding and the Company's contribution to the development of Russia’s regions.
"This is a very informative exposition that will help both the deputies of the State Duma and all the exhibition’s visitors to see the important results which railway development has for our country. I invite everyone to visit the display," said Alexander Zhukov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, in his opening speech.
The State Duma then held an expanded meeting with the participation of deputies, representatives of Russia’s federal executive bodies, the expert community and managers of Russian Railways. The meeting discussed the Company's current state, the results of its work in 2017 and the problems and prospects for the development of the railway industry, as well as the main directions for improving the regulatory framework.
"As part of the overall trend of the country's economy, a 3% increase in loading volumes was achieved, while transit volumes increased by 17%. Freight turnover increased by almost 6.5% and by the end of the year will set a new record for the entire period of Russia's recent history. Moreover, compared to 2014, freight delivery speeds will increase by 17%, primarily by our improvement of the Company’s internal processes and increased production efficiency," reported Oleg Belozerov, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive Board of Open Joint Stock Company Russian Railways on the results during the 10 months to the end of October 2017.
Strong growth was also recorded in passenger transportation, with over 930 million people using rail transport services to the end of October, 8.5% more than in 2016. During the same period, suburban passenger traffic increased by 9.5%.
"In the 10 months to the end of October 2017, the RZD Holding paid taxes and fees amounting to more than 320 billion roubles," said Oleg Belozerov.
Russian Railways also carried out considerable work to improve the efficiency of the Company's activities and thus lay the basis for its long-term development programme until 2025, which was presented to the participants of the meeting.
The programme meets the challenge of raising the growth rate of Russia’s domestic economy above that of the global level. In this regard, railway transport and advanced infrastructure development should become one of the drivers of economic growth.
"The fundamental issue is the formation of tariffs. We proceed from the understanding that it is important to establish long-term "rules of the game" – both on the part of the state and on the part of Russian Railways. We propose a general formula for tariff policy over the long term, namely the annual indexation of the tariff on the basis of inflation minus 0.1 percentage point. We also have to increase productivity and create better conditions," said Oleg Belozerov.
The Chief Executive Officer of JSC Russian Railways also said that a priority in the Company's work was the development of passenger transportation. The programme envisages an increase in the mobility of the population to 4% per year, which will allow for greater flexibility on the labour market, the development of domestic tourism and, ultimately, an improvement in the quality of life for Russians. It is estimated that by 2025, the development of metropolitan areas and a well-considered tariff policy will see the number of passengers who prefer suburban commuter trains return to the peak values seen in 1997.
"To enhance the attractiveness of the railways in cooperation with other modes of transport, we propose the systematic development of the infrastructure in conurbations, create convenient transport hubs, develop intermodal transportation and introduce various services. We also plan to use mass modern coaches and double-decker carriages in order to resolve the quality problem with passenger rolling stock," said Oleg Belozerov.
Plans to increase the volume of freight and passenger transportation are linked to the projects for the development of the railway infrastructure, which were also presented to the participants in the meeting.
These included the development of high-speed railways and the construction of the first Russian high-speed railway line, which will run between Moscow and Kazan and become the backbone of the Eurasian high-speed freight railway, as well as the development of infrastructure in the Arctic in the framework of the project for the creation of the Northern Latitudinal Railway and the development of the railway system in Eastern, North-Western and Southern Russia etc.
"I want to point out that the entire programme will be financed from the Company's own funds. State support is provided only at the level that has already been adopted for the investment projects that have been launched for the next few years," said Oleg Belozerov.