23 Apr 2024 20:44

Russia to develop BAM railroad to expand its export, transit capabilities - Putin

MOSCOW. April 23 (Interfax) - The Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) railroad is one of the biggest infrastructures of the 20th century and will be further developed to expand Russia's export and transit capabilities and to raise living standards for Russians living nearby, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

"This is one of the world's biggest infrastructure project in the whole of the 20th century," Putin said at a gala evening to mark the 50th anniversary since the start of the BAM construction, thanking those who worked on the project. "At the turn of the century, BAM helped open Asia-Pacific markets to the Russian economy [...] Along with our Trans-Siberian Railway, it has become a truly strategic transit corridor of both national and global importance," Putin said.

This year the mainline's capacity reached almost 42 million tonnes, three times what it was more than 12 years ago, he said.

"This year we are launching yet another, already third stage of the BAM and Trans-Siberian development, we are increasing the capacity the Eastern Polygon of Railways. A strategic decision was made, the government released necessary normative documentation, now it is to be implemented in practice. Essentially, this work is already underway," Putin said.

The project uses the most advanced technologies, creating additional demand for domestically-produced machinery and metallurgical products, for services in the construction sector and a host of other industries, he said.

"What we must do is not only to widen bottlenecks, our tasks now are far bigger: along the entire length of the BAM mainline we are to build what are essentially to be secondary continuous routes, build over 300 infrastructure sites. [...] In ten years' time the volume of traffic through the Eastern Polygon of Railways should reach 270 million tonnes a year," Putin said.

This will enable broader use of natural resources in the of BAM and Trans-Siberian railway zone, providing a powerful impetus to open new production facilities and create new jobs, he said.

The president separately dwelled on the development of social infrastructure in East Siberia and the Far East. "In this regard, I will stress: we will pay particular attention to raising the quality of life for people in the population centers tied to BAM, including [...] by providing further development of the hubs, the BAM capitals - Tynda and Severobaikalsk, to whose people we are greatly indebted," Putin said.

"Further BAM development will serve to increase the export and transit capabilities of Russia as an important link in the Eurasian transport system," he said.

"I am certain we will implement all these plans," Putin said.