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From Japan to Europe: at the start

The implementation of the railway project Japan-Russia-EU is still in question

From Japan to Europe: at the start

Construction of the Selikhino (Khabarovsk Territory) - Nysh (Sakhalin) railway with a bridge over the Nevelskoye Strait may become part of a unique transport megaproject, but it is too early to talk about the start of work.

Experts say that the Selikhino-Nysh railway project is not a regional project at all. And not even domestic. In fact, it should become one of the stages in the development of an extensive international transport system.

“We do not consider the construction of the Selikhino-Nysh highway as a separate project, thanks to which the island will receive a railway connection with the mainland, but as a stage in the creation of a much larger-scale transport system connecting Europe and Asia,” Deputy Director of the Institute of Economics and Transport Development Sergey told Sharapov. - At the moment, there are three main points of economic growth in the world - North America, the Asia-Pacific region, the European Union. So, with the implementation of our project, transport links will be provided along one of the sides of this "triangle" - between the European Union and the rapidly developing economies of China and Japan. "

The experts are still cautious about the specific timing of the start of construction (especially its completion). Yes, there are well-known, long-declared deadlines and "attached" to them. According to the plan, the design of the highway should begin in 2015, the construction - in 2017, to 2020 the bridge will go up to 9,2 million tons of cargo (now about 1 million tons are transported by ferries), and by 2030 the cargo transit through the territory of the Sakhalin region Will reach 33 million tons annually.

However, it does not hurt to remember the story. We will not delve into the events of 150-year-old prescription, when the idea to connect Sakhalin with the mainland for the first time, and 60-year-old - when it was launched, and then quickly and practically discontinued its practical implementation. Let's talk about the recent past. Now the project for the construction of the Selikhino-Nysh line looks as it was presented by the development team back in 1999. In 2001, its first feasibility study was prepared, in which the potential efficiency of the project was assessed, the technical feasibility of its implementation, and so on. The feasibility study was approved by the government commission, received positive feedback, but the project was frozen at that time due to lack of funds. In parallel, also since the beginning of the 2000-ies, there were works on the reconstruction of the Sakhalin railway - and they were not brought to the end either. At the moment, according to Russian "broad" gauge standards, 493,8 km of tracks have been transferred, which required expenditures of 20 billion rubles. This is only slightly more than half of the required amount of work that has lasted for 10 years. But, S. Sharapov said, during their production "in the course of business" an original technical solution was found - two-way railroad tracks: the rails were laid in such a way that the transition from the track 1067 mm to the track 1520 mm occurs by itself, without changing the composition.

Now that the Far Eastern regions have a special role to play in the development of the economy of the whole country, these projects have again become relevant - disputes about their financing have also renewed. The construction of the Selikhino-Nysh road is certainly an expensive project: its cost is estimated at 450 billion rubles. But the impact is also great: the expected multiplicative effect from the project implementation should amount to 1,9 trillion rubles. The construction itself will create 11 thousand new jobs, 5 thousand jobs will require its operation. Terms of delivery of goods to other regions of Russia will be reduced by 2-3 days, and the price of their transportation will decrease by 7-10 times.

Meanwhile, there is still the point of view that a “too expensive” bridge across the Sakhalin Strait is not needed. For example, representatives of Sakhmorparodskaya Company have more than once called automobile-railway ferries a more affordable (and time-tested) alternative to railway construction - in addition to the three already operating, two more are planned to be built. The cost of each - on average 2,5 billion rubles. "Spread" with the cost of the railway project - hundreds of times. Maybe worth thinking about it?

The railway workers object: the project is necessary. True, they add, not so much the railway department as the state, which means that most of the financing should go from its side. Russian Railways is ready to participate in the project, but it is simply not in a position to take on all the costs associated with it: it is enough that the re-laying of the roads, according to all-Russian standards, was conducted at the Sakh-Zhod at the agency's expense.

“The plans of Sakhmorparokhodstvo, of course, have a right to exist. Moreover, hardly any of the Sakhalin residents will speak out against the construction of new ferries. And I can assure you that the railroad workers are also not against it. The islanders should have several options for transport links with the mainland, - said the interlocutor of at Russian Railways. - As for the project, which now seems overly “ambitious”, sooner or later all grandiose projects become reality and cease to scare the imagination: what was fantastic yesterday becomes commonplace tomorrow. Let this surprise many, I can quite responsibly declare that the railwaymen are least interested in the implementation of the project to build a bridge from the island to the mainland. Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin has repeatedly stressed that this project is primarily necessary for the state. Our company is dynamically developing, many commercial projects are being implemented in the north, south and east of the country. All of them require colossal investments, but the company goes to these costs, since the payback periods are short, the return is tangible. At the same time, Russian Railways, as a business company, is engaged in transportation, and profit is a priority factor for us. Therefore, investing in such a large-scale, in fact, geopolitical project is an impermissible luxury (and there is no free money, and it will not pay off soon). If the state considers it necessary, then it will find partners and opportunities for this. We can say unequivocally: our company will take part in this project ”.

The issue of investment in the project from the Japanese side has been discussed more than once - it would seem that Japan should be interested in entering the Russian, and then on the European highways rather strongly. Actually, at all possible negotiations, conferences and meetings, the Japanese delegations have repeatedly stated this interest. So far, Japan does not express any readiness to specifically participate in the project. The Russian side hopes that the Eastern partners will be active when the parameters of the project become more concrete. “We are talking too much about this, but so far we have done very little. As soon as we start implementing the project in practice, Japanese investors will surely appear, ”said Sakhalin Region Governor Alexander Khoroshavin.

In any case, experts are sure, the concrete work on the construction of the Selikhino-Nysh road should be started immediately - regardless of how much private Russian or foreign investors are willing to participate in the project today.

"We believe that the implementation of the project must begin immediately," Vladimir Degtyarev, the Minister of Transport, Communications and Road Facilities of the Sakhalin Region, said at the international conference "Creating a Direct Railway Communication Japan-Russia-European Union" in November, 2013. - Its implementation will become a real step in the struggle for the most important segments of the world transport services market. If we do not solve this issue now, we can lose leadership and historical perspective to take advantage of the benefits of Russia's geostrategic position in this region of the world. Therefore, the project should become truly national, useful and vital for the whole country. "

According to S.Sharapov, if in the near future not to start work on the project, the Sakhalin railway can be closed with a clear conscience: because of the lack of cargo turnover, it is subsidized at 70%. And, as the expert said, at least at the initial stage the matter should be taken by the state in its own hands.

“We all understand that the course has been taken towards liberalization of the economy - that is, non-interference of the state in the affairs of business,” shared S. Sharapov. - This is wonderful, although there are areas of the economy that will not develop without the support of the state. These include transport - the large-scale development of this area requires huge investments with a fairly long payback period. And in particular, this applies to the eastern regions, where the railway infrastructure is not very developed. ”

According to the results of the international conference "Creating a direct railway communication between Japan and Russia - the European Union", held at the end of 2013, President Vladimir Putin sent an appeal to include the project of construction of the Selikhino-Nysh railway line in the list of priority investment projects in the Far Eastern Federal District. The president is waiting for another decision - on the beginning of financing of design and survey work. Decision-making will mean that the project is given a start.

East Russia help:

The railway transport of the Sakhalin Region accounts for about 30% of all freight traffic in the region. In the structure of rail transportation, the leading place is occupied by coal, timber and construction cargo, fish products and petroleum products.

Since 2003 year on the Sakhalin railway works on its reconstruction on a network-wide track width of 1520 mm are underway. The project cost in 2007 prices is 42,7 billion rubles. With a payback period of 7 years. Since the beginning of the project, it has been rebuilt to a wide track of 493,8 km. The railway of Sakhalin Island is connected to the railway network of mainland Russia by the 267-kilometer ferry crossing of Vanino-Kholmsk, put into operation in 1973 year. At present, there are three railway ferries operating on the line, each with a capacity of 26 wagons.

With the construction of the Selikhino-Nysh railway line with a length of 582 km, the freight turnover will increase to 9,2 million tons per year (that is, increase more than 4 times), while it is assumed that the largest volumes of cargo will go to the mainland. The projected growth in cargo traffic is mainly associated with an increase in the production and sale of coal mined in the Uglegorsk district, and the need to bring cargo to the Sakhalin region to build new large-scale power generation and processing facilities.

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