- How do the relations with Russia’s neighbors develop? With the European Union and China? What are the prospects and difficulties?
One of the main goals of RZD international cooperation is the adaption of the up-to-date technologies in the sphere of passenger railroad transportation to the Russian environment. JSC RZD cooperation with foreign companies raises the quality of both passenger and cargo transportation in the Russian Federation, which answers the strategic purpose of the railroad transport reformation.
Working groups of specialists from Russia, China and Germany are preparing proposals on the organization of the Euro-Asian freight traffic China-Europe. For a more comprehensive usage of Transsib potential it is important to develop partnership with major Japanese industrial and shipping companies.
The volumes of foreign trade freights transportation on the Trans-Siberian railway has been increasing by 30-35% in recent years. Even now the volume of container transportation exceeds 600 thousand TEU and the company plans to raise the number of transportation up to one billion containers as a whole.
Already now large-scale infrastructure projects in the Transsib Eastern part are being implemented in order to develop transit between Russia and China, the necessary development of the railroad stations in cooperation with China, Mongolia and DPRK is taking place, and access to the seaports is being enhanced.
RZD does everything it can for the development of other promising transport ways. For example, in cooperation with Azerbaijan and Iran railways RZD intensified its efforts on implementing the project of the new line Kazvin – Resht – Astara construction.
The realization of this project will activate on a full scale the transit potential of the North – South pass which is estimated to be 40 million tons annually. The route from India to Europe is almost two times shorter than the traditional one through the Suez Canal. The connection of the passes North – South and pan-European №2 can create an effective multimodal transportation system between Europe, Gulf States and India.
Russian, Austrian, Slovak and Ukrainian railways have agreed to start designing the extension of the broad gauge rail (1520 millimeters) to Central Europe. These agreements aim at drawing additional freights to the Euro – Asian routes.
In the current complicated economic situation in 2009 the company will continue work on the efficiency enhancement of its activities and quality of services and its integration into Euro-Asian railroad transportation system.
- International routes have always been problematic for the railways because oftime-consuming customs and legal procedures and the difference in gaugesizes. How does RZD intend to address these issues, and how much will this cost?
RZD’s development strategy includes improvements in customs declaration procedures and the creation of a special regime for transit freight. A standardized format is being developed for accompanying documents in line with international standards. As far as the difference in gauge size is concerned, the company is planning to build a 1520 mm-gauge line from Moscow to Vienna.
The Austrians have shown an interest in the project, which will substantially boost freight shipment from Central Asia to Europe and will also cut delivery times. In the passenger transport sector, RZD is looking at the possibility of using trains equipped with an automatic gauge-change system. In October, RZD signed an agreement of intent with the Spanish manufacturer Talgo: if testing of the equipment is successful RZD will buy some Talgo trains, initially for a new high-speed link between Moscow and Berlin that will substantially cut journey times.
- Is it true that RZD has insisted that any foreign company wanting to sell rail cars to RZD must in future make them inside Russia? And if so, what’s the reason for this? They say this will lead to problems with productivity and output quality. Can you comment on this?
RZD is currently buying railway equipment from foreign manufacturers – eight Velaro Rus trains from Siemens and four Alstom trains – and no such demands have been made of them. But the manufacturers themselves are taking an interest in the growing Russian market. As far as larger orders are concerned, local production benefits both the manufacturers and the company.
RZD is now holding a tender for the manufacture and supply of double-deck cars with subsequent localization of production. The big international manufacturers – Bombardier, Alstom, Siemens – have all expressed an interest in working with us. In terms of quality, wherever the assembly operations are set up the manufacturers will ensure thorough control over full technological compliance.