Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Freight Under the Spotlight at Russian Rail Conference

Second Congress Will Address Infrastructure Concerns
Shipping News Feature

RUSSIA – The second Russian Railway Conference will open in Moscow's Manej Central Exhibition Hall on Friday (18th November) for two days of discussions on the strategic development of Russia's railway system in the context of the state's socio-economic interests, and the rail system’s ability to meet the economy's growing needs in terms of freight and passenger traffic, as well as strategies for improving efficiency and innovating in order to improve services.

The congress is intended to address concerns including the improvement of the railway infrastructure, soliciting new investment, the strengthening of public-private partnerships, the development of a network of express trains and high-speed rail routes, the introduction of advanced information technology to rail transport, and the further development of the company's personnel.

State owned Russian Railways (RzD) have recently been involved in a flurry of commercial activity as the company restructures. These developments included sales of slightly less than 75% of Freight One to Universal Cargo Logistics Holding (UCLH) and the $400 million IPO for 35% of TransContainer. Shares of rail cargo have increasingly moved toward the private sector and current opinion is that the state will be supportive of infrastructure development.

More than 3,000 guests have been invited to participate in the congress, including representatives of state organizations, including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin, professional stakeholders and the industry's customers, in addition to Senators, State Duma deputies, academics, and organized labour.