Tuesday, February 9, 2010

RZD President Reaffirms Europe To Asia Rail Freight Plans

Development to Continue Despite Recession
Shipping News Feature

RUSSIA – Speaking at the opening ceremony of the International Regional Rail Business forum in Tallinn today, the President of Russian Railways (RZD), Vladimir Yakunin, has reaffirmed the company’s and the Russian state’s commitment to expanding rail freight links between Europe and Asia, despite the fall in demand caused by the economic situation.

“Although the crisis has had a significant impact on the economic development of the vast majority of countries, the development of freight transit remains one of our priorities,” he said.

Yakunin stated that RZD plans to actively use the transit potential of Russia’s railway system to offer a viable alternative to ocean freight, linking to international transport corridors passing through Russian territory and developed in line with the company’s ‘2030 strategy’.

Under this plan RZD is to undertake substantial infrastructure development works that will make it feasible to deliver container freight from Russia’s eastern to western borders in seven days by 2012.

Much of this work is concentrated on the ‘East-West route’, the main part of which is the Trans-Siberian railway: more than 400 km of new lines will be laid to bypass major rail hubs, as well as more than 700 km of additional trunk lines.

Mr. Yakunin also remained confident on future freight projections for RZD, stating: “Under the Strategy for Developing Rail Transport in the Russian Federation up to 2030, the volume of freight transit will increase by a factor of 2.8.”

(pic: Vladimir Yakunin - centre)