Oleg Belozerov: "In 2019, the Company will set a record for passenger transport in the last 11 years"
The final annual meeting of the Russian Railways Board of Directors this year is taking place in Moscow today, 11 December 2019.
The event is being attended by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov, the Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation Igor Levitin, the Deputy Minister of Transport Vladimir Tokarev and the Governor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov, as well as representatives of Russia’s federal and regional authorities, business, scientific and transport organisations and heads of the Russian Railways Holding.
Speaking about the results of the Company’s work in 2019, the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov noted that by the end of the year, 1.2 billion passengers will have travelled on the Company’s trains, the highest figure for the last 11 years.
"We consistently follow a strategy regarding 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 in some areas amounts to tens of percent, while in absolute terms the numbers run to tens of millions of passengers. I would like to emphasise that these results are all the more impressive since they are in comparison to the already high levels obtaining during 2018, when the World Cup was held in Russia," said Belozerov. The Company CEO added that in 2019 the Holding had implemented the largest programme to renew of all types of passenger rolling stock.
According to Oleg 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. During the first days of the diameters, the increase in passenger traffic on this new infrastructure amounted to more than 8%. Unique solutions to reduce the time intervals between trains on the MCC to four minutes enabled it to achieve new record results. Thus, on 29 November 2019, more than 571,000 passengers were transported. In fact, since it began operating, the MCC has carried more than 400 million people. In 2021, we are scheduled to introduce a model for driverless operations," said the Company head.
Analysing the Holding’s transport and logistics activities, Oleg Belozerov noted that the high market volatility and external restrictions had had a significant impact on the planned work parameters and thus led to their adjustment. Among these significant factors, Belozerov also noted a change in the structure of freight flows.
"The first stage of infrastructure development in Russia’s East was implemented based on a certain volume of freight. At the same time, recent years have seen a significant change in the geography of freight flows 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 Khakasia. This increased the load on the network and required the rapid additional implementation of technological solutions whose reserves are limited," said the head of Russian Railways.
Assessing Russian Railways’ plans for the near future, Oleg Belozerov stressed that the Company’s investment programme and financial plan for 2020 and for the period up to 2022, which had been approved by the Russian government, 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. It is planned to invest more than 1 trillion roubles in infrastructure development over the next three years, along with nearly 900 billion roubles in renewal projects.