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
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
- 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:
- 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.
- 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).
- Give rise to new freight flows of export cargoes, since the acceptable shipping
logistics will help to upgrade marketability of the inland territorial products.
- 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.
- Load the ports of the countries in the Northern Europe with international through
traffics (container transports).
- 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
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.