Can railway project in Russian North attract bank investment?

Railways in Murmansk, Russia. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)
We are definitely interested in the materialization of the Belkomur railway, leader of the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) makes clear.

The projected railway line between Arkhangelsk (northwestern Russia) and the Ural town of Solikamsk has taken another step towards realization as the Eurasian Development Bank is confirming its interest in providing financing.

Bank director Andrey Belyaninov during the recent St.Petersburg Economic Forum signed a cooperation agreement with Belkomur project company leader Vladimir Shchelkov.

“The project is well developed, and our bank, which is a development institute for the Eurasian region, is undoubtably interested in its materialization,” Belyaninov said in a ceremony.

Belyaninov, the former head of Russia’s Federal Customs Service, made clear that the EDB is ready to assess possibilities to participate in financing the railway construction and also take on the lead of a project consortium, a press release reads.

There was rejoice from the governors of Arkhangelsk Oblast and the Komi Republic as the agreement was signed. The two men, who both attended the signing ceremony, have long worked for the railway development.

The more than 1,000 km line will connect the two regions and open up a new logistic shortcut from the Ural region to the Arctic Ocean.

Chinese are on board

From before, Chinese investors have come on board in the project. The Poly Group has signaled a possible multi-billion USD investment, and also COSCO and China Marine Fuel Service Corporation might ultimately take part.

“Belkomur is probably the biggest inter-regional project which today is on the level of confirmation,” Arkhangelsk Governor Igor Orlov says in a comment.

“This is a very important event.”

Major rail project

The Belkomur project initially includes the construction of more than 1160 km of new railway between Arkhangelsk and the Ural town of town of Solikamsk. However, more could potentially be added. Regional authorities in the neighboring Nenets Autononous Okrug now propose to include an additional line to Indiga, the town on the Pechora Sea coast.

Indiga is seen as a potential site for a new major out-shipment hub with capacity handle 30 million tons per year.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada ill-prepared for Arctic shipping boom, G7 sustainability summit hears, Eye on the Arctic

China: Qingdao plays pivotal role in China’s Arctic strategy, Cryopolitics Blog

Finland: In crisis, would Finland’s supplies be safe on Arctic rail near Russian border?, YLE News

Russia: China a key Arctic partner for Russia, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden plans construction of northern coast railway, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: World maritime body approves first Arctic ship routing measures, Radio Canada International

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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