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Russia’s geography is the reason behind its unique transport opportunities. However, the country’s transit potential is in use only to a degree of 5–7%. Unlocking all opportunities requires a comprehensive approach covering the upgrade of the transport infrastructure, enhancement of customs procedures, attraction of major investments and interaction with neighbouring countries.
The expansion of international transit will accelerate Russia’s economic growth and its integration into the global transport system.
Ultimately, the use of Russia’s transit potential is expected to go up.
Russia’s and China’s joint statement on cooperation in this field highlights tighter ties in logistics, transport infrastructure and intermodal carriage.
Currently, the following projects are being implemented or negotiated: international transport route (ITR) Europe – Western China crossing Kazakhstan, Russia and Belorussia, high-speed line Moscow–Beijing, transport corridors Primorye-1 and Primorye-2.
Another stimulus to boost Russia’s transport potential is to develop online cross-border trade.
However, a number of issues requiring a systemic solution hold back further development of Russia’s transit potential. First of all, these are the absence of the necessary infrastructure to boost carrying capacity and a deficit of investment in such projects.
Second, land transit rates across Russia are higher than sea freight.
Third, contradictions between Russian transport regulations and international laws, the need to re-issue documents on the way from one country to another and multiple customs control procedures.