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Connecting Europe and Asia. International Transport Corridors in the Russian Far East

September 06, 23:00 UTC+3
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Key conclusions

The heads of Chinese provinces and companies are ready to support joint transportation projects with Russia in the Far East

“We are also now promoting the construction of a bridge in the region of Damansky Island. Creating and improving this transportation infrastructure, will, without a doubt, improve trade and economic relations between our countries,” said Jia Yumei, Vice-Governor of the Heilongjiang Province in People's Republic of China.

“The amount of mutual trade between the province of Jilin and the Far East is growing. The potential is being realized more and more. We are working together with a minimum of 8 federal subjects of the Russian Federation. These entities account for more than half of the Jilan Province's bilateral trade,” said Jin Yuhui, Vice-Governor of the Jilin Province in People's Republic of China.

“Samsung is seeking a cooperation opportunity to participate in the efforts of the Russian government,” said Kim Hyun Suk, President of the Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

“We often come across situations where we identify some, strategically, very important projects.  But, for the moment, the financial return of such projects may not be high enough to be fully bankable. I think that in such situations, government support is critical <…> I really want to suggest the governments of Russia and China, and Russia, probably, more, to support stronger support for these products,” said Xian Zhu, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer at New Development Bank.

China and Russia cooperate on cargo delivery projects to Europe

“We must also work on turning the Far East into a cargo transfer point so that we can communicate with Western Europe,” Jin Yuhui explained.

“We can also ship cargo to European markets through Suifenhe and the Trans-Siberian Railway,” said Wang Xingzhu, Mayor of the Suifenhe Municipal People's Government.

“We guarantee delivery of postal goods from Japan to four European countries - Latvia, Finland, Slovenia, and Germany - within 18 days. These packages can weigh up to 500 kilograms <...> We are able to talk about volumes of about 60,000 tonnes. This is the capacity of the postal train that regularly operates between Moscow and Vladivostok once every day,” said Nikolai Podguzov, General Director of the Russian Post.

Challenges

Administrative barriers in cross-border shipping

“We understand what is happening with the optimization of trade across borders and there are still some particular difficulties <...> Some projects have been underway since 2009, but they have yet to be completed <...> As for Shenzhen and Makhalino, it is also necessary to provide for barrier-free and smooth transit,” Jin Yuhui explained.

“As a result, we want, of course, to intensify our cooperation and to remove all of the barriers that are still there at the moment.  These include technical and technological ones,” said Irina Olkhovskaya, First Deputy General Director and Commercial Director of "Port Management Company", the management company of "Vostochny Port".

Solutions

Enhancing cooperation between China and Russia in economic and transportation spheres

“In that context, we think that, certainly, potentially, the projects such as an international transportation corridor in the Russian Far East and also with the neighboring Chinese provinces will fit into our mandate,” Xian Zhu pointed out.

“With the help of the Development Bank of China, we will be able to provide loans and other forms of financing for projects.  In particular, the Silk Road Fund and other investment funds exist.  They can also develop the direction of interbank cooperation in this sphere,” Jia Yumei indicated.

“We also feel a high amount of social responsibility. That's why we also need to bring investment to other Far East regions, mine coal, and develop sea trade routes as well as fishing and other programs,” Jin Yuhui said.

“Of course there can still be even more new possible projects that deserve to be promoted.  For example, creating a base for producing agricultural products, processing agricultural products, fish products, and other types of project cooperation <...> Over 90 enterprises are now cooperating with the Far East,” Jin Yuhui explained.

“By utilizing this new transportation route, Samsung, via rail transportation, increased 40% more than the previous year,” said Kim Hyun Suk.

“Even now, when we already have a decision, it is necessary to keep building technology with the customs authorities and with Russian Railways for the transfer of cargo through the transportation corridor. Cooperation on these issues continues with participation of the administrations of China and the Russian Federation,” Irina Olkhovskaya indicated.

Development of the transportation corridors Primorye-1 and Primorye-2

“When winter arrives, it is very difficult to transport goods by rail, and here we would cut transportation costs on the sea.  This would be very profitable and convenient.  We also have several measures to reorganize the Harbin Railway and Russian Railways,” Wang Xingzhu said.

“We are also aligning our hopes with transporting to seaside ports like Shanghai, Guangzhou, and 15 Chinese ports.  As soon as we are able to connect to these ports (including Taiwan) through Primorye, we would be able to cut the cost of transportation costs as well as improve conditions,” Wang Xingzhu indicated.

 

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