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The Sakhalin bridge is laid out on the sly

Why Russia has not yet begun to build the Sakhalin-Mainland transition

Last week, the Far Eastern deputy prime minister - presidential envoy in the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev put an intermediate point in the issue of building a bridge to Sakhalin. A decision on this matter could be the main news of the fourth Eastern Economic Forum, but due to the cursory statement made by Russian President Vladimir Putin on this score, the news never materialized. EastRussia figured out where the cargo traffic for the new bridge would take and whether its construction wanted someone stronger than the authorities of Sakhalin.

The Sakhalin bridge is laid out on the sly
Photo: Sergey Malgavko / VEF, TASS

As already reported by EastRussia, the theme of the Sakhalin-Mainland bridge crossing at the meeting of the State Council presidium before the fourth VEF was tried to raise the Sakhalin governor Oleg Kozhemyako, who asked the Russian president to make a decision on the start of the construction of the transition. "The Sakhalin people, and the residents of the Khabarovsk Territory, are waiting for your decision to build a railway crossing between Sakhalin and the mainland, the implementation of this project will positively affect the quality of life of the islanders, in general for the social and economic development of Sakhalin and the Khabarovsk Territory, will open a way for the country to non-freezing ports in the east of the country, will be the first step in the implementation of the transcontinental project to create a transition between Sakhalin and Hokkaido to Japan, "the governor said. The head of state, however, did not answer directly yes or no.

At a plenary meeting of the WEF Vladimir Putin, Sergey Brilev tried to return to the topic the moderator of the discussion. "You asked about the bridge to Sakhalin," the president replied, "Yes, it will significantly open up the potential of Sakhalin's ports, but we need to understand the volume of traffic, so it is very important for us to establish cooperation with the countries of the region. the volume of investments in the development of its own infrastructure. "These are not idle encounters or idle talks."

At the same time, "the countries of the region", mentioned by Vladimir Putin, remain extremely cautious in assessing the prospects for the project. For example, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a plenary meeting of the WEF that "to assess the" connection by the railroad transition of the mainland of Russia and the Sakhalin Island and then reach Japan, "" first of all, experts must carefully study the technical capabilities and economic profitability. "

And last week in an interview with the NTV channel, Yuri Trutnev said that "the Sakhalin bridge can only be a decision of the Russian president," and "no one else can solve this task." Mr. Trutnev did not say anything new: everyone understands that the decision to launch a construction site worth hundreds of billions of rubles, which is geopolitically meaningful, can only be taken by a president in Russia.


In the summer of 2018, RZD published preliminary estimation of cost of erection of bridge transition to Sakhalin with an infrastructure, having included the project in the investment program. According to these data, the project is divided into three components: a six-kilometer bridge across the strait (252,8 billion rubles), 579 km of adjacent railways (287,5 billion rubles) and a new deep-sea coal port near the village of Ilyinsky in Delanglya Bay (30-100 billion rub.). The construction is supposed to be carried out in a concession mode, then transferring to the concessionaire only a bridge, a bridge with a railway or all this with a new port on Sakhalin.

In the calculations of RZD it was assumed that 100 billion rubles. will provide the federal budget, 90 billion rubles. - "Development Fund of the Far East" (FRDV), 60 billion rubles. - "Sakhalin Oblast Development Corporation" (KRSO). These plans have not yet been commented on in the FRDF and the KRCO, but it is known that the capital, which the fund and the regional corporation currently can manage, is still smaller than the amounts contained in RZD's calculations.

The State monopoly has allocated 1 billion rubles so far. on the design of the bridge. Construction work can begin in 2019 year and must be completed in five years. In the RZD promised to submit to the government of the Russian Federation the first results of design calculations performed by the Far Eastern Design and Survey Institute of Transport Construction, in autumn 2019.

Estimation of the cargo base of the bridge to Sakhalin is a key moment for making a decision to start construction. In the Russian Railways, the base of the bridge is estimated at 8,5 million tons, and taking into account the construction of the deep-sea port - in 46,9 million tons. A day after the topic of the Sakhalin Bridge was voiced at the plenary session of the fourth WEF, the state company said that they do not expect to return investments to the bridge "earlier than in 26 years after the start of its operation," although they estimated the freight base of the project as early as 30 million tons.

Answering the question of where these volumes will come from and how they relate to the current cargo transportation in the Far East, it is necessary to return a month ago to the August Commission on the Strategy for the Development of Fuel and Energy Complex and Environmental Safety, which Vladimir Putin held in Kemerovo. Whereas already reported EastRussia, cargo turnover of the ports of the Far Eastern basin was estimated at 191,7 million tons. Most of it is export coal. The head of the Ministry of Energy Alexander Novak on the commission estimated that Russia for 2018 year exports through the Far East 100 million tons of coal. By 2025, these volumes will double, reaching 207 million tons. Of these, 195 million tons will need to be transported by rail. Only on the basis of these estimates, the RRD believes that about 30 million tons of coal can be redirected to Sakhalin, if, of course, by that time the port will have the appropriate port capacities.

In 2017, Sakhalin, according to the Ministry of Housing of the region, extracted 7,65 million tons of coal. For export, 7,5 million tons were exported. Coal transshipment is possible through a limited number of ports, first of all it is Shakhtersk, owned by the largest coal mining company of Sakhalin, the Eastern Mining Company (VGK). By 2020, the company intends to bring the volume of transshipment in the port to 12 million tons per year. In 2017, LLC "Coal Port Shakhtersk" shipped 4,6 million tons of coal, the plan for 2018-7,5 million tons. However, all the volumes are given to the port by the HVC, and there are no places yet at the wharfs of Shakhtyorsk to third-party consignors.


At a press conference on the results of the fourth WEF, Yuri Trutnev recognized, that the economic justification for the construction of such a large infrastructure facility, as the Sakhalin bridge, "is quite a complex process." A number of media outlets, based on the results of the press conference, published reports with reference to the vice premier that "the bridge to Sakhalin will pay for itself." But Mr. Trutnev did not say exactly. in fact, mentioning the discrepancy in the estimates of the freight base of the future bridge with colleagues from the China Communication Construction Company, a meeting with which was held the day before, Yuri Trutnev said that "it is quite difficult to predict the full payback of an infrastructure facility."

"As for the bridge, there is the same complex process, it is not homogeneous, there are people who say that the bridge will not pay off, the area is hard to reach, the road is long, I hold a completely different point of view.We have prices on building materials in Sakhalin exceed the mainland in two In the year, only the budgetary sphere of Sakhalin buys 90 billion rubles for the construction of construction materials, thus, we estimate that Sakhalin alone will save at least 40 billion rubles, according to our estimates. We will continue to argue with our opponents and prove our position, "the Deputy Prime Minister said.

Yury Trutnev got into all the news tapes with an estimate of the expected effect of the bridge for the construction industry of Sakhalin, but he did not name the payback period of the project - later it was recalled by RZhD, saying that he did not expect to return the funds invested in the bridge transfer earlier than through 26 years. At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in spring 2018 Yury Trutnev said that the bridge to Sakhalin - "this is a big savings on the transit of goods to Sakhalin." "We considered the annual amount of such savings to be billions, it will also work for the bridge's payback," he said, adding that the main thing in the project is still that "a new geography of the world is being created."

Certainly they are sure of the need for a bridge to Sakhalin in the region itself. The regional authorities made the future bridge crossing the central theme of their pavilion on "The Far East Street" at the fourth Eastern Economic Forum for good reason. The governor of the region Oleg Kozhemyako told EastRussia that the project, which will connect the region with a permanent communication with the mainland of Russia, has no minuses. "The island throughout its history has always been difficult to access from the point of view of both the navigation period and the off-season and the storm conditions.Therefore, the high cost of shipping in cargo containers.We could not get fresh products when we waited for weekly transshipments in the port of Vanino," - says the governor. According to him, the new bridge crossing is also jobs for railway workers, and the possibility of additional export supplies to the APR.

"The bridge is hard to overestimate, and there are no other arguments, except that they say it's expensive, but let's make an effort!" The country once built the Transsib, which caused great controversy and doubts, but thanks to this, the Far East developed. The Sino-East Railway, which gave Russia outlets to Port Arthur, to the south, served the development of both our territories and China, which was later transferred, and it is difficult to overemphasize the railway communication and any transport routes, cargo, it is a community of the state, the world economy, the ability to integrate, the ability to live and develop. "" Without trade, trade, production, and tourism are impossible, "the head of the region believes.

Meanwhile, how Reported EastRussia, experts have doubts about the profitability of the bridge project to Sakhalin. Associate Professor of the Department of International Relations of the Eastern Institute of the FEFU Artem Lukin believes that "a bridge or a tunnel to Sakhalin from the point of view of the flow of goods to and from the island will never pay off," and "there is no real need for it." "Vanino-Kholmsk railway ferries and in-line shipping services from Vladivostok to Korsakova manage to handle cargo traffic, and it is better to use air transport for the development of passenger transportation between Sakhalin and the mainland." Theoretically, a bridge between the mainland and Sakhalin could be expedient in the long term if, in addition to it, the Sakhalin-Hokkaido bridge is built, which will ensure the switching of cargo from the deep-sea to the new Hokkaido-Sakhalin-Komsomolsk-on-Amur railway route and further along the BAM to M and Europe, "- says the expert.
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