Russia-China cooperation on rail has potential



SOCHI, Russia – Russia-China cooperation on development of high-speed rail and a trans-Eurasian rail corridor has “huge potential, the president of Russian Railways (RZD) said here Friday.

Under a government strategic plan, Russia will build by 2030 some 20,000 km of new railways, including 5,000 high-speed lines, Vladimir Yakunin told Xinhua on the sidelines of an international railway forum.

“Russia is expected to develop a railway network, including high-speed rail lines, from Kazan and Yekaterinburg (in central Russia) to Khabarovsk and Vladivostok (in the Far East region),” Yakunin said.

“In this field, we are willing to cooperate with China’s railways and financial institutions,” he added.

“China has rich experience in high-speed rail construction, which creates rooms for further cooperation between the two countries in this field,” he added.

Meanwhile, Yakunin admitted that there are some delays in implementing a memorandum of understanding signed by Russia and China in 2009 on joint development of high-speed railway system in Russia.

There is no change in Russia’s stance on the construction of high-speed rail, but the state-owned RZD is still seeking suitable finance and profit modes, he explained.

Yakunin, who will soon visit China with a Russian delegation led by President Vladimir Putin next week, said that he would meet with China’s railway authorities on further bilateral cooperation.

On the development of a rail corridor from the southwest Chinese city of Chongqing to Germany’s Duisburg, Yakunin said that China and Russia have signed cooperation documents and formed joint ventures.

Last July, the new route was officially launched in Chongqing. It offers a major shortcut to traditional sea trade routes and shorten travel time to Europe from about 36 days by container ship to just 13 days by freight train.

“This is the first step of the corridor construction,” Yakunin said.

The train services are expected to be increased to once per day in the future as Chongqing’s exports to Europe increase. Currently the train leaves Chongqing for Duisburg once a month.

Russia is now pondering the future transit fee policy following the development of the route and will later coordinate with the Chinese side, he said.

Besides, Yakunin said the new trans-Eurasian rail corridor is taking shape, thanks to the joint efforts of Russia, China and Kazakhstan.

Amid global economic uncertainties, such a corridor will boost the global and regional economy and enhance the competitiveness of countries of the railway routes, he said. More info