The largest long-term construction was completed on the Amur River
The construction of the Russian part of the railway bridge across the Amur between Russia and China has been completed in the Jewish Autonomous Region (EAO). The test team drove through it on April 27.
Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev said during the opening ceremony that Russia is ready to launch a regular movement and expects information from China that part of their relocation has opened. It is expected that the talks will take about a month. “A disinfection facility is being built on the Chinese side, then we will open the entire bridge,” he was quoted as saying by Interfax. We are talking about the organization of cargo transportation on the bridge, passenger traffic is not planned yet.
The new bridge is located between the Chinese city of Tongjiang in Heilongjiang Province and the village of Nizhneleninskoye in the EAO Leninsky District. It became the fourth border crossing on the Far Eastern Highway. In China, the bridge is connected to the Xiangyan branch – Hayuidao, in Russia – to the Trans-Siberian Railway. Its length is 2.2 km, of which the Russian part is 309 m. The main feature of the bridge across the Amur is a two-track structure designed to alternately pass trains with Russian (1520 mm) and Chinese (1435 mm) track width.
Initially, in 2007, the beneficiary of the bridge construction project in China was the Petropavlovsk Mining Group, represented by its IRC iron ore division. Under this project, she created Rubicon LLC and planned to implement it on the terms of public-private partnership. In 2014, due to falling iron ore prices, problems with the implementation of mining projects in the region, as well as the uncertainty of the financing mechanism, IRC sold Rubicon to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RFDI) for 174 million rubles. At the same time, the Far East Development Fund (now VEB.DV) became the capital. The project was implemented within the framework of an intergovernmental agreement on VEB.DV funds through the Russian-Chinese Investment Fund (RKIF). The total investment is about 12 billion rubles. The share of RKIF in the project company was 56.25%, another 25% for Russian Railways and 18.75% for VEB.DV.
The first agreement on the construction of the bridge was signed in October 2008. Its construction was planned to begin in 2009, but it was postponed. In the summer of 2013, a second contract was signed. China started work almost immediately – in February 2014, Russia due to bureaucratic delays and the search for a general contractor began construction only in 2016. Subsequently, the deadline for completion of the project was also repeatedly postponed. By 2026, the project was to increase the EAO’s GRP by almost 10 billion rubles. and an increase in tax revenues of 3 billion rubles.
On the Russian side, the project also includes the construction of 4,963 km of access roads to the bridge, the new Leninsk-2 railway station, the reconstruction of the existing Leninsk-1 station, the Nizhneleninskoye-Tongjiang checkpoint, and the Trans-Siberian Railway on the existing Birobidzhan-Leninsk railway line.
According to the Russian Railways representative, 6 billion rubles were allocated within the investment program for the reconstruction of the railway infrastructure adjacent to the bridge crossing, which is being conducted by the holding itself.
The Vedomosti interlocutor added that the main stages of reconstruction of four large stations – Birofeld, Ungun, Birobidzhan-2, Leninsk – have been completed on the Birobidzhan-Leninsk section. More than 10 km of roads and more than 50 turnouts are laid on them. Traffic control systems, automation and telemechanics have been modernized. At the Leninsk-2 station, about 20 km of Russian and Chinese tracks have been laid, as well as 1.4 km of roads adjacent to the bridge crossing.
The general contractor for the construction of the bridge was Most Insurance Company, known for its designs for the bridge to the Russian Island in Vladivostok and the railway in Sochi. The railway checkpoint was built by BTS-Most (both companies are part of Bamtonnelstroy-Most).
Deputy General Director of Bamtonnelstroy-Most Sergei Yurchenko clarified that the bridge “provides a capacity of eight pairs of trains per day with a length of 72 cars” (quoted by “Interfax”).
IPEM Deputy General Director Vladimir Savchuk says that in 2022, checkpoints on the Russian and Chinese sides will reach the project capacity and transshipment capacity will initially limit the volume of traffic. “Most likely, the new railway border crossing will be able to pass from 2 million to 5 million tons [грузов] in 2022, depending on the pace of commissioning of related infrastructure at the border crossing and the organization of logistics, “he said.
In general, Russian Railways forecasts traffic volumes at 10 million tons per year. But the capacity of the bridge after the commissioning of all facilities will increase this volume to 24 million tons in both directions. “Given the reorientation of cargo flows and the growth of applications for the carriage of goods to the east, this border crossing will allow Russian shippers to offer new supply chains,” said a Russian Railways spokesman.
According to Dmitry Baranov, a leading expert at Finam Management, the importance of this project is that the creation of another border crossing between Russia and China will not only increase mutual trade, but also strengthen cooperation between them. “The new railway border crossing will free up other crossings, which could help them specialize in certain freight lines,” he said.
According to him, coal, oil and products of its processing, ore, wood, grain, chemical products, machinery and equipment can be transported from Russia. From the PRC – consumer goods, food, as well as machinery and equipment, and many products in both directions can be transported in containers of different types.
“If the parties agree, this border crossing can be used to transport transit cargo from other countries,” Baranov added. The possible volume of containerized cargo, in his opinion, could reach several tens of millions of tons a year. Baranov estimates the estimated payback period of this project at 7-9 years.