22 january 2009

Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Transport Minister Igor Levitin

Mr Putin and Mr Levitin discussed the industry’s performance in 2008, and the agreed position on a state-run transport leasing company. They also talked about jobs in road construction and subsidies for air travel to the Far East.

Vladimir Putin: Go ahead, Mr Levitin.

Igor Levitin: Mr Putin, I would like to report briefly on the industry's performance in 2008. On the whole, all types of transport outperformed the level of 2007. Sea transport carriage volumes increased, more freight was handled in sea ports, and aviation surpassed its 2007 figures by 11%. For the first time we carried 50 million passengers.

Vladimir Putin: How did sea transport perform in the past few months?

Igor Levitin: In the fourth quarter, carriage by all types of transport fell. But on the whole, all types of transport exceeded their volumes for the year. A decision has been made and a position agreed on a leasing company ...

Vladimir Putin: As we agreed.

Igor Levitin: Yes, you gave such a directive. It will be a state-run transport leasing company. Documents are now with the Government, and the matter has been agreed with the Economic Development Ministry. Its authorised capital will be 40 billion roubles. Of this total, 15 billion will be provided in 2009. We have selected 68 enterprises in all regions, and purchases will be made already this year. All documents have been prepared.

Vladimir Putin: How much will it all cost?

Igor Levitin: The amount involved is 15 billion roubles - or about 10,000 pieces of equipment.

Vladimir Putin: What kind of enterprises are these?

Igor Levitin: They are 68 enterprises in all regions of the Russian Federation. We have prepared equipment requirements and will announce a tender. Together with the Industry and Trade Ministry, we will choose enterprises that can manufacture such vehicles. It will be large plants, such as KamAZ, which will be practically the first to make such equipment for us. Practically all regions of Russia will take part in this work. This order can guarantee tens of thousands of jobs.

Vladimir Putin: When do you plan to announce the tender?

Igor Levitin: We are planning it in February, or at the latest, in early March. But we are already holding talks on the range of products with the plants. All these questions were thoroughly sorted out before.

Vladimir Putin: Good.

Igor Levitin: Your second directive concerned provision of jobs in road construction. We made calculations to determine their likely number on regional and municipal roads. Now with the Commission led by Alexander Zhukov, we will join efforts with the regions. We must contribute funds to those kinds of work that offer the greatest scope for job creation. We will be ready to start these operations when the Government decides. We will be able to provide an additional 25,000 jobs.

Vladimir Putin: Very good.

Igor Levitin: Your next directive dealt with subsidies for air travel to the Far East.
With the funds made available to us in 2009, we propose the following scheme. Between May 15 and September 15, that is, in the period when school and college students are on holidays, we will offer tickets at affordable prices. Fares for Far East residents will range from 10,000 to 14,000 roubles. We will subsidise the rest of the fare ourselves.

We will hold a tender to select airlines that can offer us regular services and prices we can accept. If this scheme is adopted, we will be able to carry 120,000 passengers at such rates - or about 30% of summer travellers. Currently, we are agreeing details with the Economic Development Ministry. If our proposal is endorsed, we will announce a tender among airlines in February.

Vladimir Putin: Good. Thank you.