Russian, Chinese officials hold talks on Arctic railway project

The Belkomur project will shorten rail distances between China and Russian Arctic waters. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)
The Belkomur project will shorten rail distances between China and Russian Arctic waters. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)
Chinese money gives new life to the Belkomur project.

Russian and Chinese officials have completed a fifth meeting in the project committee on the Belkomur railway, the east-west connection between the Urals and Arkhangelsk. The meeting took place in Beijing and was attended by key stakeholders PolyTechnologies Inc, the Belkomur project company and others, the Arkhangelsk regional government informs.

A cooperation agreement signed in early September 2015 includes the construction of 1161 km of new railway from the western Siberian town of Solikamsk, through Syktyvkar and to Arkhangelsk. The project is believed to have a cost frame of more than 200 billion rubles (€2.67 billion).

«Everything is proceeding as planned», leader of the Belkomur company Yuri Demochkin underlines to TASS.

Interest in deep-water harbor

The annual capacity of the new infrastructure will amount to 35 million tons  and goods will vary from coal, mineral fertilizers, oil, timber, ores, construction materials and containers. 

According to the agreement signed during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China last year, Poly Technologies will become the main contractor in the project. It will participate in financing, projecting and construction of 712 kilometers of new railroad and modernization of 449 kilometers of railroad that already exists.

Poly Technologies has reportedly also expressed interest in participating in construction of a new deep-water harbor in Arkhangelsk.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  How Arctic shipping could boost Canada’s trade relationship with Asia, Radio Canada International

China: Chinese company mulls more Arctic shipping, Barents Observer

India:  Asia at the Poles – Spotlight: India, Eye on the Arctic

Finland:  Increased tourism from Asia gives Finnish Lapland boost, Yle News

Russia:  Finnish State Railways to lose monopoly rights on Russian freight, Yle News

United States:  Asia ahead on preparing for polar climate change, says U.S. Arctic rep, Eye on the Arctic

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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