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At the crossroads of all roads

On the unique transit potential of the region - in an interview with the governor of the Khabarovsk Territory Vyacheslav Shport

At the crossroads of all roads
- Vyacheslav Ivanovich, you have repeatedly emphasized the convenient geostrategic position of the Khabarovsk Territory. What competitive advantages does the region have for the development of transport routes and logistics, for increasing freight traffic to the APR countries?
- Our region is not just convenient, but also a truly advantageous location. Its territory is located in the geographical center of the Far East. It intersects the automobile, river, air and sea routes, pass the main pipelines and railways.

At the same time, the Khabarovsk Territory has long "grown" from the concept of a buffer zone. Today it can be called a contact zone without any exaggeration - both domestic and international. This is especially important in light of the new economic policy being pursued by the country's leadership in eastern Russia. After all, the priority social and economic development of the district also presupposes its integration into the Asia-Pacific region. And here it is a sin not to use the colossal transit possibilities of the Khabarovsk Territory.

Another question: what is needed to realize these opportunities? Of course, improve the transport infrastructure. We must form a core network to engage the region’s industrial potential in the economy of Russia and the APR.

- What types of transport do you bet on?
- Of course, everything. It is necessary to make full use of the navigable Amur (inland water transport occupies a special place in the life support of the northern regions), and the available exits through seaports to the APR countries. Also, urgent tasks for us are joining of "bottlenecks" on the railway, reconstruction and creation of highways, development of pipeline transport, air traffic.

By the way, I would like to dwell on the latter. We are carrying out the reconstruction of the Novy International Airport in Khabarovsk. This is the most important project for both the Khabarovsk Territory and the entire Far Eastern Federal District. We will implement it on the basis of a public-private partnership mechanism. It's about serious money. The total investment in the development of the airport by 2030 will amount to 18,8 billion rubles.

The reconstruction of the airfield complex is being carried out at the expense of the federal budget. And non-state funds will be spent on the construction of a new passenger terminal. Foreign investors from Japan have confirmed their participation: Sojitz Corporation and JATCO. Ernst & Young has developed a concept and a feasibility study for a commercial area development project (AirCity). Now the design of facilities is underway, negotiations were held with international hotel operators on the management of the future hotel and business complex, we are also interacting with specialized investors and operators of the commercial commercial infrastructure.

We are pursuing the goal of creating a modern central airport of federal significance, a hub. The point is precisely to make proper use of the competitive advantages of the region. After all, the Khabarovsk airfield is a reserve one for the airports of the entire Far Eastern region. It is located at the intersection of the trans-Siberian and trans-eastern air routes, in the most favorable climatic conditions, and has the ability to receive ships in any weather.

However, our airport is not only the largest in the Far Eastern Federal District and the first in it in terms of traffic volumes. It retained its lead in 2016, servicing 1,9 million passengers (including transit). This is 2,6 percent higher than in 2015.

- Is the cargo flow at the airport also growing?
- Certainly. At the end of last year, it amounted to 24,5 thousand tons (5,8 percent more than in 2015). We have new flights. For example, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, one of the largest cargo carriers in the world that operates intercontinental flights through Russia, has begun to perform transit landings in Khabarovsk on routes to the United States.

Since the end of 2016, Russian Post planes have opened a new cargo direction in our route network. This department has also planned the construction of a logistics postal center on the territory of Khabarovsk airport - the only one in the Far East!

In general, our freight traffic has grown in all directions, including road and water transport. Pipeline transport became the absolute leader in terms of growth - it showed an increase in 2016 by 14,1 percent. More than half of all cargo is transported by rail (an increase of 4,8 percent).

Moreover, in the Khabarovsk Territory, about 40 percent of the freight turnover of railway transport in the Far Eastern Federal District is provided, 23 percent of the total freight turnover of the ports of the district and 31 percent of the entire transport complex of the Far East.

- You spoke about the reconstruction of the airport. And what are the prospects for financing in 2017 other large projects that are being implemented in the region in the field of transport logistics?
- Let's start with the fact that the modernization of the railway infrastructure of the BAM and Transsib continues. The project is the most ambitious, the forecasted total volume of capital investments there is more than 560 billion rubles. Of these, 300 billion are invested by Russian Railways. On the territory of the Khabarovsk Territory, Russian Railways financed from 2013 to 2016 the work for almost 40 billion rubles. More than 2017 billion rubles are planned for 12,4.

In addition, the railway department is reconstructing a pedestrian tunnel at Khabarovsk-1 station. This year, the cost will be 216,2 million rubles, by August the tunnel should be ready.

Another large-scale project is the construction of a transport and transshipment complex for transshipment of coal in the Muchke Bay (Vanino seaport). It is implemented by VaninoTransUgol. The total cost of the project is over 27 billion rubles. These are investor funds; they will go to the creation of a transshipment terminal, the development of transport infrastructure, energy and water supply networks. And the budget funds will be used to carry out dredging works at federal property.

Plus, a decision was made to allocate 3,2 billion rubles of federal subsidies for this project - for the construction of a railway track and energy supply networks. We plan to commission the first stage of the complex in the third quarter of 2019.

An important topic for us is the increase in the capacity of the Vanino bulk terminal with the development of the railway infrastructure of the Toki park. This project of "Daltransugol" worth over 6,1 billion rubles will provide by 2020 the transshipment of up to 24 million tons of thermal coal per year.

In addition, as part of the implementation of a long-term plan for the comprehensive socio-economic development of Komsomolsk-on-Amur in 2017, three sections of the Khabarovsk-Lidoga-Vanino highway with an access to Komsomolsk will be built. 583 million rubles have been allocated for this, of which 450,5 million rubles from the federal budget, the rest - regional money.

Thus, this year we are planning to complete the construction of this most important route for us. It will not only connect the center and districts of the region with Komsomolsk-on-Amur and the Vanino seaport, but will also become the last part of the road communication of the Eurasian international corridor "Transsib". In addition, there will be a transport exit from the federal highways Chita - Khabarovsk and Khabarovsk - Vladivostok to seaports on the Pacific coast.

- The investments are expected to be large. Therefore, it is also natural to question how much the GRP and deductions contribute to the consolidated budget of the Khabarovsk Territory by the transport complex?
- In short, the lion's. In 2015, transport accounted for 24,9 percent of the total gross regional product, in 2016 - 26,8 percent.

The situation is similar with deductions to the regional budget. At the end of 2015, the share of the transport industry in tax revenues was 15,2 percent, in 2016 - 15,6 percent (11,8 billion rubles), and this is the largest indicator in the region.

Basically, the promising growth of the region's transport industry is provided by investment projects of several major companies: Russian Railways, Transneft - Far East, Daltransugol, VaninoTransUgol, Khabarovsk Airport.

Of course, not all areas of transport activity have a positive tax return. For example, passenger transportation in the region (as well as in many other subjects of Russia), due to the considerable distances and relatively small passenger traffic, need subsidies. But we are talking about socially significant routes, for example, river, air! They cannot be closed, otherwise remote areas, which already have low transport accessibility, will be cut off from the “mainland”. Just recently, in February, we added the village of Nelkan to the existing route Khabarovsk - Nikolaevsk-on-Amur - Ayan. This was done at the numerous requests of the residents of the Ayano-Maisky district. The new route will be subsidized from the regional budget.

- Vanino and Sovetskaya Gavan have always been a point of attraction for private companies wishing to develop export of products to the APR countries. In your opinion, the benefits provided by the free port regime are more intended for large investors or for small projects that are not necessarily related to transport?
- Development of Vanino - Sovetsko-Gavanskiy transport-industrial hub is one of the main tasks of the transport complex of our region in the long term. This approach is also consistent with the Program for the Development of the Coal Industry in Russia for the period up to 2030. Let me remind you that it provides for the development of deposits in the Trans-Baikal and Khabarovsk Territories, the Irkutsk and Amur Regions, the Republic of Buryatia, South Yakutia, the Jewish Autonomous Region and Kuzbass, the construction of mining and processing plants and - which is very important for us - specialized port terminals in the ports of Vanino and Sovetskaya Harbor. All this will ensure the growth of coal exports to the APR countries.

The projects are large, and they are implemented by serious investors. They, of course, will be interested in the possibilities of a free port, to the regime of which the Vanino municipal district has been classified from the second half of the year 2016. After all, for residents, it means tax privileges, and simplification of customs and visa procedures, and administrative preferences.

But we expect, and not without reason, that smaller businesses will also come here. The preliminary list of potential residents includes 20 investors with an investment volume of over 87 billion rubles. So, more than 70 percent of them are representatives of small and medium-sized businesses in various fields of activity: construction, fish processing, agriculture, transport.

Moreover, today Minvostokrazvitiya RF is working on the possibility of reducing the minimum amount of investments from 5 million to 500 thousand rubles in the implementation of investment projects in the Khabarovsk Territory included in the free port of Vladivostok. This is done just to attract small and medium businesses.

- What is currently hindering the economic development of Vanino and Sovgavan most of all and what can be done about it (in the competence of the RF subject's authority or through addressing initiatives at the federal level)?
- I think you yourself know the answer to the first question: the main limiting factor for the development of the Vanino-Sovgavan junction is the undeveloped railway infrastructure on the approaches to the ports.

Prospective cargo traffic in the direction of the seaports of Vanino (one of the 10 largest ports in Russia) and Sovetskaya Gavan is announced by 2030 in the amount of 130 million tons per year, including about 100 million by potential residents of the free port of Vladivostok.

By 2012, Russian Railways implemented the project “Reconstruction of the Oune - Vysokogornaya section with the construction of a new Kuznetsovsky tunnel on the Komsomolsk-on-Amur - Sovetskaya Gavan section”, which has already increased the carrying capacity of the road. In 2008, it was 8,1 million tons per year, in 2017, 37,1 million are planned.

It is clear that this is not enough - with the planned 130 million!

Now about what can be done. To ensure the declared flow of goods, it is necessary to perform the second stage of modernization of the railway infrastructure of the Baikal-Amur and Trans-Siberian railways. A general scheme for the development of the Vanino-Sovgavan railway junction was developed. It provides for the synchronization of the terms of the development of the railway and the construction of transshipment terminals. Now this scheme is in agreement with RZD.

- Will the airport be reconstructed in Vanino?
- Probably you meant - in Sovetskaya Gavan? Yes, in 2017 we are planning a major overhaul of the air terminal at Sovetskaya Gavan (Mai-Gatka) airport. In order to reconstruct the airfield, build a continuous fence for the runway and a patrol road, we are working with the Ministry of Defense as the owner of the airfield.

- Now in two coastal regions of the region, mainly cargo handling, logging and timber processing, extraction and processing of aquatic biological resources are developed. Will the establishment of a free port regime contribute to the development of branches of the economy that are new for Vanino - Sovetsko-Gavanskaya transport-industrial hub? Are they needed there?
- In accordance with the current legislation, a resident of the free port of Vladivostok can carry out any type of activity. Well, apart from the prohibited ones, of course, as far as I remember, this includes oil and gas production, the production of a number of excisable goods, and administrative activities.

That is, we have prospects for the development of new agricultural, food and industrial industries, mining, construction, fuel and energy complexes, housing and communal services and, of course, tourism. As a result - the creation of new jobs, the development of transport infrastructure, the creation and modernization of industries focused on the production of competitive products.

Is it all necessary? I think that such a question is not even raised. Need! Of course, if we are seriously talking about the accelerated socio-economic development of the municipalities of the Khabarovsk Territory and the consolidation of the population there. 

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