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"Rubicon" goes to docking
The bridge to China via Cupid should be built in 24 months
The company "Rubicon" started construction of the Russian part of the cross-border bridge across the Amur worth about 9 billion rubles, the contract was signed with OJSC USK Most. Railway bridge crossing between the village of Nizhneleninskoye in the Jewish Autonomous Region and the city of Tongjiang in the Chinese province of Heilongjiang should be delivered in 24 months. The project is unique, because for its launch it was necessary to combine Russian and Chinese technical norms and regulations. Now it is necessary to coordinate the work of a number of supervisory and supervisory structures, "except, perhaps, astronautics," says Dmitri Astafyev, CEO of Rubicon.
- Dmitry Alexandrovich, what role does Rubicon LLC play today in this project, what functions and powers are assigned to you by the shareholders?
- "Rubicon" is a customer company, which today is the owner of all documentation, land, the very project of building a cross-border bridge across the Amur. Through the "Rubicon" will be financing construction, and in 24 months, after the completion of the project, the company will own and manage the bridge. Together, perhaps, with Russian Railways. That is, in the future we will be the rightful owners of what we will build.
- It is assumed that the source of profitability will be a special tariff for the carriage of goods on the bridge ...
- Yes, there is a mechanism for the return of investments in the form of charging a tariff rate for the carriage of goods across the bridge. Now the scheme and mechanism of charging are considered. Probably, with the participation of Rubicon and RZD, a special structure will be created that will manage the bridge crossing and charge a fee.
- It was even assumed that the bridge itself would also be built by the railway represented by JSC Russian Railways Stroy. However, in the end, USK MOST OJSC was chosen as the general contractor, why?
- Generally, the company "USK Most" was one of the first to express a desire to participate in this project. Indeed, there was a rather complex process of selecting a contractor, and China's Civil Engineering Construction Company was considered as such. Its division, in fact, built a part of the bridge from the side of the PRC. It was logical for us that they finish building the second part, because they already have people, equipment, cement plant and other necessary equipment and materials on the site.
But talks with the Chinese side stalled because of the appreciation of the dollar, as a result of which they experienced a sharp jump in value. As a result, at one of the meetings in the Ministry of Transport, a proposal was made to entrust construction to the structure of Russian Railways. But when the "RZD Story" made an estimate - they cost was much higher than a certain limit of 9 billion rubles.
In addition, despite the national importance of the bridge over the Amur River, it is necessary to understand that this project is an investment one. And one of the conditions of investors, our shareholders - the Russian-Chinese Investment Fund, and the Fund for the Development of the Far East - the return of investments. Accordingly, the construction cost is important. "USK Most" of all potential participants gave the lowest amount. Moreover, it is significantly lower than that of RZD Stroy.
- Do you not call specific figures?
- I would not want, this is the competence of our shareholders. I can say that in a predetermined framework - 9 billion rubles. - we fit in. Despite the jumps in the dollar, and new economic realities. At this fixed price, we signed a contract.
- How complicated is the technological side of the question, how will the two parts of one bridge built by the Russians and the Chinese be joined in general?
- I have been working on this project for five years, while still being Deputy Governor of the EAO, head of the regional government office under the Russian government. Representation, as is known, is in Moscow, and the main issues on the future construction were decided exactly there. Even then it was obvious how many federal structures are involved here, and how difficult it will be to coordinate everything. But when I started working as CEO of Rubicon, and went into the production process, it turned out that everything was much more complicated.
The project is unique, it never happened! It is cross-border, docking is coming from two sides, and one must immediately understand that in Russia and China, a different railway track. The Chinese already (1435 mm - Eastrussia), we have wider (1520 mm - Eastrussia). At the same time the rolling stock of the Chinese is wider, we already have. Accordingly, considerable time we spent on accepting and approving the unified technical parameters of the project. So that we can then hand over this object to our supervising and supervising structures so that it meets all our GOSTs, technical requirements, regulations.
It is very difficult to say which of the supervising structures does not participate in our project. And the main difficulty - to ensure the interaction of a large number of all these structures, and this is the customs, border guards, technical supervision, the railway - can be listed for a long time. We only have to cosmonautics, perhaps we have no relationship! And the consolidation of efforts is needed both at the construction stage and in the future, when the bridge is being operated.
So, here's about the docking. Two tracks will be laid along the bridge. Chinese and Russian. The rolling stock from the People's Republic of China, on its track, will enter the territory of the Russian Federation, undergo customs clearance, unload, or otherwise load, and go back. A similar, absolutely mirror-like situation on our part. If, for example, compare with the existing railway border crossing in Grodekovo (Primorsky Territory - Eastrussia) - there our rolling stock did not go to the territory of China.
When discussing the technical side of the project, the option was considered, in which the wheel sets of the formations are replaced for the transition to a new track. This experience is tested in other docking nodes with different widths of the road. But this is a very complex and expensive option. And the solution chosen by us provides the greatest economic feasibility. Again, we have unique logistics advantages in the region - 120 km and we get to the Trans-Siberian and BAM, our "entry point" for 1 thousand km is closer to the Far Eastern ports. In the future, it is planned to create one of the largest logistics nodes, tied to the northern part of China.
- What do you see as the main difficulties of the construction process?
- Very strict restrictions on the terms of delivery of the object - 24 months from the date of signing the contract. It is signed. But, while we are drawn into the navigation, while it will be possible to place the floating equipment for excavation and construction works - it will take a month or two. And we are already entering August, there are only two months left until the end of navigation. And there and spawning - and again almost a month can not work in the mainstream of the Amur. Then freeze, ice drift, and again in a circle. In total, it turns out almost half a year!
However, construction work on the site should not stop; an engineering solution is being worked out that will allow us not to depend on the river regime. Consultations with the contractor are now going on very tightly. In this regard, we are pleased that the selected company has extensive experience in the Far East and is accustomed to working in our difficult climatic conditions. This is not the first bridge built by her in the channel of the Amur River. A bridge was built across the Bolshoi Ussuriysky Island, and it was commissioned ahead of schedule. "USK Bridge" built in Vladivostok, and the bridge is unique, and put it on time. At present, there are no complaints to these objects, the company also provides warranty service.
So, despite the tight deadlines, we do not doubt the competence of the performer. Consultations with the designer, technical supervision. By the end of June, we must be provided with a schedule for approval, under which the general contractor should work.
- How does the interaction with the authorities of the region?
- Governor Alexander Levintal took an active part from the first day of his appointment, then still as the head of the Jewish Autonomous Region (in February 2014 - Eastrussia). In his opinion, this construction can give an impetus to the further development of the region. The project is significant, and it should become a locomotive for the regional economy.
In this regard, the governor expressed the wish that the units that will work in the territory of the Jewish Autonomous Region should be in its tax field. Because the subject should feel the effect not after the delivery of the bridge, but from the beginning of the project. Alexander Borisovich set the task to consider the possibility of attracting local forces to this construction. In the Jewish Autonomous Region there are no large companies, bridge builders, which could take a large subcontract, carry out any major construction work. But for auxiliary work, subcontracts - in any case, we will insist that companies that pay taxes on the territory of the Jewish Autonomous Region be involved.
OOO Rubicon was established in 2007 by Petropavlovsk as a customer of the construction of a bridge over the Amur River. This project was secured in the Russian-Chinese intergovernmental agreement of 27 October 2008. In 2014, the owners of the company were the Russian-Chinese Investment Fund (the structure of the Russian Direct Investment Fund) and the Development Fund of the Far East. On a refundable basis, they are financing a construction site worth 9 billion rubles.