Oleg Belozerov: "RZD to Set 11-Year High in Passenger Transport"
The final annual meeting of the Russian Railways Board of Directors is taking place in Moscow today, (11 December 2019.)
The event is being attended by Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Maxim Akimov, Aide to the President of the Russian Federation Igor Levitin, Deputy Minister of Transport Vladimir Tokarev and Governor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov, as well as representatives of the federal and regional authorities, the business,- and scientific communities and transport organizations, and the heads of the Russian Railways Holding.
Commenting on the results of the Company’s work in 2019, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov noted that, 1.2 billion passengers will have travelled on the Company’s trains- by the end of the year, the highest figure for the 11 years.
"We follow a consistent strategy with regard to transport accessibility and mobility, so that the most active and mobile part of our society always has both the desire and the opportunity to use rail transport again and again. Demand continues to grow significantly in all segments of passenger transport and we have witnessed increases of over 10% in certain areas. In absolute terms, the number of passengers has increased by tens of millions of people. I would like to emphasize that these results are all the more impressive given the already high levels obtained during the summer of 2018, when the World Cup was held in Russia," said Belozerov. The Company’s CEO added that the Holding had implemented its largest ever programme to renew of all types of passenger rolling stock in 2019.
According to Belozerov, 2019 was the year when the railway became one of the fully fledged forms of urban transport.
"This has been fully facilitated by the projects implemented in the Central Transport Hub – the Moscow Central Ring (MCC), Moscow Central Diameter 1 and Moscow Central Diameter 2. Passenger traffic on the Moscow train network increased by over 8% in the days following the opening of the diameters. Innovative solutions to reduce the intervals between trains on the MCC to four minutes led to record results. More than 571,000 used the service, on November 29, 2019, for example. In fact, since it began operating, the MCC has carried over 400 million passengers. In 2021, we are scheduled to introduce a model for driverless operations," said the Company head.
Analysing the Holding’s transport and logistics activities, Belozerov noted that high market volatility and external restrictions had had a significant impact on the planned work and adjustments had to be made. Among these significant factors, Belozerov also noted a change in the structure of freight flows.
"The first stage of infrastructure development in Eastern Russia was implemented based on a certain volume of freight. At the same time, there has been a significant change in the geography of freight flows in recent years due to several factors. In addition to the changing conditions on world markets, some of the deposits whose minerals we transport did not reach their project capacity, while some projects suffered from postponed investments. As a result, the main burden in terms of loading in Eastern Russia fell on the deposits in the Western part, mainly Kuzbass and Khakassia. This increased the load on the network and required us to implement limited-availability technological solutions at a rapid pace,” Belozerov said.
Assessing Russian Railways’ plans for the near future, Belozerov stressed that the Company’s investment programme and financial plan for 2020 and for the period up to 2022, which have been approved by the Government of the Russian Federation, opened up a new large-scale investment cycle which was unprecedented for Russia’s railways. The total amount of the investment programme will be 2.5 trillion roubles, including more than 820 billion roubles for 2020. Over 1 trillion roubles are to be invested in infrastructure development over the next three years, along with nearly 900 billion roubles in renewal projects.