Outlays for the upgrading of existing rail crossings with China come to USD 641 million. The figure was made public yesterday by Khasan Zyabirov, Russia's first deputy transport minister, during a meeting of the Russia-China joint transport committee, Rosbalt has learned from the Transport Ministry press service.
There are currently three rail crossings in use: Naushki-Sukhe-Bator, Zabaikalsk-Manchuria and Grodekovo-Suifenhe. The Zabaikalsk-Manchuria line is the most used and accounted for 51% of all transportation across the border in 2002. The volume of transportation along this line increased by 60% in 2000 alone.
According to Mr Zyabirov there is another rail crossing at the station of Kamyshov. Once an agreement has been reached on customs regulations and export-import tariffs, Mr Zyabirov said, there is no reason why this route should not be used as well. In fact, it is estimated that up to 3 million tonnes of freight could be transported along this route every year.
Mr Zyabirov mentioned that annual trade turnover between Russia and China has came to over 29 million tonnes since 2000. Moreover, 18 million tonnes of freight were transported by rail last year, a 70% increase on the year 2000. By 2010 total trade turnover is expected to double and this means that rail transportation will account for almost 40 million tonnes of freight a year.
Following the summit in Riga on November 30, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explained how the alliance could respond to Russia's 'new aggression against Ukraine.'