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The Belkomur Project as a component of the Northern Transportation Corridor

The northern transportation corridor issue was initially raised in 1995. The Northern Transportation Corridor Project will be another logistical alternative that can promote reduced transportation costs for consignors within the global framework of world commerce.

The development of different modes of transport within the Corridor is viewed under the different names:

Barents Link: railway connection development within the scope of the Barents Region;
N.E.W. Corridor: marine and railway communication development within the North America-Northern Europe-Asia transcontinental scope;
Russian Northern Corridor: latitudinal motor road communication.

Transportation corridors are not established following administrative resolutions but rather by the efforts made to cut the freight flow distances to make use of the shortest possible routes between the freight generators. These generators include the industrial or mineral production hubs and sea ports.

Historically, the transportation communication astride the EU/RF borderline were predominately developing north-south, but the market economy has made us consider seriously the issues of optimized transportation routes and reduced transportation costs to be a life-and-death situation for a great many sectoral consignors.

With the 50-70% amount of the production price, the transportation costs make the products uncompetitive in the domestic or foreign markets. A range of the newly initiated projects focusing on the creation of the missing links have got the process of consistent use of the optimized transportation schemes off the ground. The projects have been initiated by the territorial authorities and business community, since it was quite evident that they would bring a positive effect as reduced transportation costs and more competitiveness of the local producers.

The major interregional projects proposed in the Russian part of the Barents Region are as follows:

  • The Ledmozero-Kochkoma Railway Link (connecting the Karelian Railway Network with the Finnish Railway Network)
  • The Karpogory-Vendinga-Syktyvkar-Kudymkar-Perm Railway Link (connecting the railway networks in Arkhangelsk Oblast, the Republic of Komi and the Perm Krai to provide the inland regions with an access to the ports of the Barents and White seas) that got the name of the Belkomur Project
  • The Kotlas Highway Bridge (connecting the western and eastern parts of the motor road network in Arkhangelsk Oblast)
  • The Motor Road Networks Communication in the Republic of Karelia and Arkhangelsk Oblast
  • The Motor Road Networks Communication in Arkhangelsk Oblast and the Republic of Komi

As the list of the projects indicates, the initial territorial challenge was to integrate the scattered territorial transportation networks along the west-east vectorial directions. To date, out of the projects listed, only the Belkomur Project has failed to be tackled. Due to the efforts of the interested territorial parties, the rest of the projects have been realized to handle railway and motor freight flows along the route of the Northern Transport Corridor.

The major impact of the transport corridor lies in the trend to level out territorial development due to the U-tube effect. The basic potential benefit for the territories in the Russian part of the Barents Region lies in their close vicinity to the Nordic countries. Economic cooperation and interpenetration will be the only way imaginable to raise the living standards in the Russian part.

The shortest distance between the Northern Europe, on the one part, and Central Asia and the Far East, on the other part, lies in the Solikamsk-Gainy-Syktyvkar-Arkhangelsk Railway Main Line that is under construction. Compared to the route available today, the new track will reduce the overall length running from the countries of the Northern Europe to Central Asia by 800 km. The completion of the new main line project will give a good opportunity to handle the perspective freight traffic.

At present the products of the countries of the Asian Region are chiefly transported to Europe and America by ship. The transportation deadline, say to the European continental part, takes 30 days or more, on average. All the same, sample shipments of similar cargoes were made by train from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea in 9-12 days.

The Belkomur Project will allow to:

  1. Get an access to foreign markets for the domestic industrially developed regions in the Ural and the Western Siberia and kick-start their economic development.
  2. Reduce load distances, transportation costs and the transport component both for export goods (the competitiveness element) and import ones (the increased public living standards element for inland territories).
  3. Give rise to new freight flows of export cargoes, since the acceptable shipping logistics will help to upgrade marketability of the inland territorial products.
  4. Produce the catalytic effect and generate increased economic returns from the investment in the construction of the Ledmozero-Kochkoma Railway Link that will receive the extra freight flows from the inland territories of the Ural and Siberia.
  5. Load the ports of the countries in the Northern Europe with international through traffics (container transports).
  6. To integrate the underdeveloped territories in the Republic of Komi, the Perm Krai and the Arkhangelsk Oblast in human activity (primarily, the focus will be made on the development of forestland and the establishment of new wood-processing businesses adjoining the railway tracks) and, as a consequence, create more jobs, increase the living standards, etc.

The practicality of the railway network finalization is quite evident when looking at the map. The creation of the previously missing links would provide more variety and optimize the logistical schemes for consignors.

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The complex programme
for industrial and
infrastructural development
of the Republic of Komi,
the Perm Region
and the Arkhangelsk Oblast
The complex programme for industrial and infrastructural development of the Republic of Komi, the Perm Region and the Arkhangelsk Oblast