Plenary Discussion Transport Infrastructure: Rapid Development Strategy Transport of Russia Forum, Day 2

A plenary discussion entitled Transport Infrastructure: Pro-active Development Strategy for establishing a single national transport system, a legal framework for joint projects, returns on investments and long-term tariff planning, development of and upgrades to the transport infrastructure was held on 5 December.

Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Prime Minister participated in the discussion. He said, "Although transport is a key industry in any country, for Russia it is the nervous system of the economy. Without roads, there can be no unity within a country. So, even though the current economic environment is challenging, the industry is continuing its stable operation. It is critical for a large number of people in Russia, essentially for the entire country."

Maxim Sokolov, Minister of Transport of Russia, gave the official welcoming address of Russian President Vladimir Putin to participants and organisers of the 7th International Forum and Exhibition "Transport of Russia". The Head of State emphasised the need to upgrade the industry's infrastructure, to engage in public-private partnerships and to foster cooperation with foreign colleagues.
"This year, the Forum's slogan is Transport to Transform the World. All the milestones in Russia's emergence as a major power were related to development of transport industries", said Maxim Sokolov. The Russian Minister of Transport remarked that 2014 had been a special year for the industry owing to the Sochi Olympics, with multiple new transport assets launched in the run-up. During the Games, over 9,000,000 people were carried by all means of transport and a seamless environment was established for people with disabilities. The annual results will showcase the total railway freight transport volume exceeding 1.2 billion MT, the total freight carried by road exceeding 5.4 billion MT, with the transhipment volume at sea ports reaching 620 billion MT. Over the year, the domestic air passenger flow rose by 19%.

Vladimir Mau, Rector of RANEPA, the Russian Presidential Academy of the National Economy and Public Administration, elaborated on the current domestic economic situation and remarked that Russia was emerging from three inter-related crises. Consequently, it was critical to evaluate events accurately as they unfold: "We are to respond to the sanctions with liberalisation and to improve the business environment, which will promote the outcomes we need."

Viktor Vekselberg, Chairman of the Renova Group Board, remarked that today it was profitable for business to invest in the transport system, which offers significant potential domestically. He also pointed out for the speakers that promotion of the regional transport system was vital: "We should establish multi-functional regional hubs to balance out the air transport market."

Pavel Brusser, Managing Director of the Department for Project and Structured Finance, Gazprombank, pointed out the special potential of the after-market for funding some of the most far-reaching objectives in transport development. He said, "Owing to actions launched by the Ministry of Transport over the last 10 years, the PPP market has become a reality. Establishment of the after-market could be the next step in dramatically extending the investor base once a project goes beyond the construction phase, when all primary and critical risks are in the past."

The following participants also joined in the discussion: Dmitry Kobylkin, Governor of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region, Yuri Molchanov, Senior Vice-President of OAO VTB Bank, Sergey Gavrilov, Chairman of the Property Committee, State Duma of the Federal Assembly of Russia, and Sergey Khramagin, GTLK CEO. The discussion was moderated by Kirill Androsov, Managing Partner of Altera Capital Investment Company.

According to the Russian Government press-service, the International Forum and Exhibition "Transport of Russia" has been hosted by the Ministry of Transport since 2007. Over 2000 delegates from Russia and 25 CIS and other countries participate in this annual event.

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