22 october 2008

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting on the draft of the Transport Strategy up to 2030

Vladimir Putin

Meeting on the draft of the Transport Strategy up to 2030

"The Strategy up to 2030 drafted by the Transport Ministry is a comprehensive document that combines the development plans of various means of transport. It also allows for long-range forecasts and outlines the outlook of the Russian transport system."

Vladimir Putin's opening remarks:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

Today we will consider the draft of Russia's Transport Strategy up to 2030.

The transport system does not meet the Russian economy's increasing requirements, thus impeding its transition onto the path of innovation. Moreover, it denies many of the areas of this country development opportunities.

Traffic on almost a third of federal motorways is too heavy. Our transport system does not yet function as a single body. Means of transport have not been integrated with each other to the required extent.

I recently spoke with students at various transport universities and touched on this issue.

I would like to thank this meeting's organisers for bringing together students from various transport universities. The integration of transport systems is key to boosting the performance of transport in general.

Obviously, it is impossible to devise effective logistic schemes without addressing the current drawbacks and unresolved problems. High transport costs are built into commodity and service prices. We are losing out on the direct profit that could be brought into this country by allowing cargo transit.

Russia accounts for only 1% of the trade between Europe and Asia, which sounds strange given that this country is located between Europe and Asia. Only one percent!

The Government has focused heavily on the industry's problems at its meetings in recent years.

In the wake of those meetings, high-priority decisions were made to ensure the transport system's development. A corresponding federal target programme has been adopted, with funds invested in the industry until 2015 amounting to 13.5 trillion roubles; almost 5 trillion roubles of this total will be allocated from the federal budget. In addition, other federal target programmes, as well as the programme for building Olympic facilities, suggest allocating quite large sums towards transport development.

All commitments that are embedded in these programmes were considered when planning the federal budget.

The Strategy up to 2030 drafted by the Transport Ministry is a comprehensive document that combines the development plans of various means of transport. It also allows for long-range forecasts and outlines the outlook of the Russian transport system.

These projects will, of course, adjust to new developments in the industry, but we should arrive at basic decisions now.

First of all, it is important to seek to realise the essential social task - ensure access to high-quality and reliable transport services for all people wherever they live. As of now, 10% of Russians live in villages that have no stable connection to the federal motorway network.

I am convinced that in the short-run we will be able to eliminate this rural isolation. We must lay hard-surface roads to populated areas that hold potential for future development.

The Strategy draft that we are considering proposes a reduction in the number of people living in villages that have no access to public roads from 10% to 2% by 2030.

It is crucial to create a national transport system, integrate various means of transport into a single logistic network, and introduce new technological compatibility standards.

We must take advantage of Russia's unique geographic position, and set in motion its transit potential.

I have already said that this potential is to a great extent predetermined by this country's location.

We also need to address other challenges, which are no less pressing. By this, I mean diminishing negative impact on the environment, decreasing breakdown rate, and ensuring transport facilities' security.

The Strategy draft envisions cutting emissions from cars in half, and the transport complex's power intensity by 30%.

The Strategy is also aimed at reducing the mortality rate caused by car accidents.

Much attention is paid to projects that envisage raising the Russian regions' budget funds and private investments. I am referring to transport infrastructure, necessary for the development of natural deposits and creating new industrial centres. No doubt, such projects are worth considerable investments.

However, you should keep in mind that adding such projects to the Strategy does not only mean recognising them as the state's priorities and granting them access to federal budget funds. These new projects will also require the commitment of regions and companies to participate in their realisation.

All local and private transport projects must be justified by local development plans and the general scheme of allocating power generating facilities in this country. Such projects must be based on realistic and thorough business plans for local industrial development that map out new railway and motorway routes.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasise that full realisation of the Transport Strategy will not merely address high-priority tasks.

Under the present circumstances, building large-scale transport infrastructure will be one of the key factors in maintaining high economic growth rates. It will allow for the preservation of thousands of jobs in the building industry and related branches, and this should also to be taken into account.

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Vladimir Putin's closing remarks:

In conclusion, I would like to say that the Strategy we are going to adopt is a large and challenging document, as was said here before. The Strategy is critical to Russia's economic development.

We will need to arrive at a number of additional decisions in order to implement the Strategy's provisions. We should also consider: consolidating assets in the transport sphere, calculating its consequences, and various scenarios for our activity.

The financing has been approved. But I also agree that it is a "live" document; in other words, we must proceed from reality and adjust our activity to new developments.

Because of the complicated processes in the world economy, traffic volumes are dropping. It should be noted that exports account for a hefty share of Russia's commodity and transport services, a fact that we should certainly take into consideration. On the other hand, there has been a decrease in the cost of the commodities that carriers, including the industry's largest businesses, need in order to work effectively and execute their investment programmes. Indeed, their revenues might shrink, but at the same time they will be able to spend less on metal, for example.

There is one more thing I would like to highlight. We are aware of the turbulent processes in the global economy, as I mentioned. According to all forecasts, they will last for at least a couple more months, and maybe even up to the end of next year. We are adopting the Transport Development Strategy up to 2030. With the current situation in mind and when amending the Strategy in the future, we should regard this document and this task as Russia's strategic development goals.

I would like to add that I agree with our colleagues who spoke about the necessity for boosting the regions' contribution to the development of transport infrastructure.

And finally, I consider it vital to protect domestic producers in the metallurgy, coal mining, engineering, aircraft building, shipbuilding, and general building industries. In the current situation, this is especially relevant. We must ensure that Russian companies maintain a heavy workload. Of course, they should work in the market environment without dictating high monopoly prices, because this would be inherently wrong. At the same time, however, protecting domestic producers is the Government's priority. As I have already said, this is large-scale and challenging work, but practice shows that we are capable of accomplishing such big tasks. For this reason, we are adopting the draft of the Transport Development Strategy up to 2030. Now we need to try our best to realise it.

Thank you.