Does Russia need the Belkomur railway route?

The Belkomur project is a new railway route (White Sea - Komi - Ural) that will connect the industrialized regions of Siberia and the Urals with ports in northern Russia. The implementation of this project will shorten the route to Arkhangelsk by about 800 kilometers. The maximum capacity of the new railway route should be 35 million tons of cargo per year.

The very first plans for the construction of a railway line that could connect the industrial Urals with the port of Arkhangelsk appeared at the very beginning of the last century against the backdrop of large-scale development of railways in Russia. Then the plans were not allowed to come true by large-scale changes in economic и political the life of the country. They tried to realize the second attempt to implement such a project already in the days of the Soviet Union, it was in the thirties of the XNUMXth century that the existing sections of the future Belkomur began to appear. Unfortunately, by the mid-fifties, most of the work was suspended, the reason was a large-scale amnesty, which deprived large construction projects of the main labor force - prisoners.

They returned to this project already in the days of post-Soviet Russia, in 1996 at that time the President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin signed a decree on providing state support for all work on the construction of a new railway. The new document emphasized that up to forty percent of the estimated cost of the project would be allocated from the federal budget. Especially for these purposes, the Belkomur company was created, its authorized capital amounted to 30 billion rubles, and four constituent entities of the Russian Federation became the founders of the joint-stock company (the Republic of Komi, the Arkhangelsk and Perm regions and the Komi-Permyatsky district). However, already in 2022, due to various problems associated with the functioning of investment mechanisms, construction was frozen.

Once again, they took up the construction of the railway line already in 2007. A year later, the emergence of a new route was covered in the Strategy for the Development of Railway Transport until 2030 and in the Transport Strategy of the Russian Federation for the period until 2020 (subsequently extended until 2030), which once again emphasized the importance of the implementation of this project. Only the development of design and estimate documentation for Belkomur was estimated at 6-8 billion rubles, and investments in the construction itself could range from 240 to 250 billion rubles. It should be noted that even then Belkomur began to be considered not just as a railway line connecting two points on the map, but as a comprehensive program for the development of the entire North-West of the country.

In 2015, an agreement was signed between the General Director of OJSC MK Belkomur (established in 2002) and the General Director of Poly Technologies, Inc, according to which a company from the People's Republic of China should become the general contractor of the project and will take an active part in financing, design, construction of new sections of Belkomur and modernization of existing ones. It was assumed that active work should start in 2020 and last for five years. At the moment, it is rather problematic to talk about the prospects of this agreement, since since the end of 2022 MK Belkomur has been in the process of liquidation.

As can be understood from the above material, the construction of the railway, which will directly connect the port of Arkhangelsk with the industrial regions of the Urals, has been exciting the minds of the first persons of our state for more than a century. Now let's try to briefly explain why Belkomur looks like such an economically attractive project.

Thus, Vladimir Shchelokov, Director General of MK Belkomur, declares that such a project for Russia is not only profitable, but super profitable. According to him, experts have calculated that the gross regional product of the three constituent entities of the Russian Federation, which will directly pass the route, will increase by 5,4%, about 40 new enterprises will be created. The regions will get another infrastructural opportunity to unlock their natural resource potential.

If you look at the regional context, the new route will allow the Perm Territory to export potash fertilizers from the Solikamsk basin. In addition, it will create additional opportunities for the development of forest resources, which cover 70% of the region's territory. The Komi Republic will have the opportunity to increase production at the deposits of the Pechora coal basin. Infrastructure will also be created to facilitate the development of ore deposits. The Arkhangelsk region will be able to increase the efficiency of diamond mining at the deposits named after. M.V. Lomonosov and them. V. Griba. In addition to this, the region will be able to develop forest resources more quickly.

It is necessary to pay attention to the strategic shortcomings of this project. For example, technical and natural shortcomings of the port in Arkhangelsk raise serious questions. Despite the fact that they are trying to offset the disadvantages of the Arkhangelsk harbor by building a new deep-water port in the city, the economic feasibility of this project remains questionable, since, according to experts, its cost may even exceed the estimate of the entire Belkomur. Questions also arise about the mechanisms for financing this project, as is often the case in Russia, many large projects run into a money issue. For a long time, the public-private partnership under the concession scheme has been seen as the best option that would suit all those interested in the project.

In conclusion, I would like to note that the implementation of Belkomur is inextricably linked with other major Russian projects in the Arctic. We are talking about the "Murmansk transport hub", the "Northern latitudinal way", the construction of a new port of Sabetta and the expansion of the port of Arkhangelsk. It is their joint successful implementation that will give a strong impetus to the development of the northern regions of the Russian Federation, which is especially important in connection with the growing transport isolation of our country and the proximity of the Northern Sea Route, as one of the key alternative routes for the export of domestic products.
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  1. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 7 May 2023 10: 20
    In general, the old money was stolen, "Belkomur" is in the process of liquidation. but more and more resources need to be exported over the hill.
    Therefore, they are trying to borrow money from the Chinese so that the oligarchs can bring timber, coal, metals there already through the north, and not through the Far East.

    It is logical
  2. borey Offline borey
    borey 7 May 2023 11: 39
    Need it anyway!
  3. Alexey Lan Offline Alexey Lan
    Alexey Lan (Alexey Lantukh) 7 May 2023 12: 33
    There is such a thing as feasibility study, i.e. feasibility study. The feasibility study should be drawn up both by opponents and supporters of Belkomur. And the Ministry of Economy must give an opinion on these feasibility studies. The project is expensive, and the benefits are incomprehensible.
  4. Sultan Kogan Offline Sultan Kogan
    Sultan Kogan (Sultan Kogan) 7 May 2023 12: 52
    Infrastructure projects were curtailed by pests like Khrushchev, he did a lot for the collapse of the Soviet economy, including this!
    1. Viktor Anufriev Offline Viktor Anufriev
      Viktor Anufriev (Victor) 7 May 2023 13: 22
      You speak beautifully.
      Now, probably, the liberals are also to blame for the fact that this project is experiencing certain difficulties.
  5. Pavel Mokshanov_2 (Pavel Mokshanov) 7 May 2023 15: 14
    Chinese guys are cunning. Build first. Then 50% participation will be required. And then they will squeeze it out if we don’t pay them off. This is how they operate in Africa and Asia. Quiet and bloodless conquest.
  6. Captain stoner Offline Captain stoner
    Captain stoner (Captain Stoner) 7 May 2023 19: 26
    which will connect the industrialized regions of Siberia and the Urals with ports in the north of Russia.

    What for? In 1996, under Yeltsin, in those distant times ... perhaps this made some sense. Now, when everything must go to the East and South, why is the North needed? Supply to polar bears? So they don't appreciate it. Except bears further there around the sanctions, endless, like the law of Jackson-BеNika.
    1. Viktor Anufriev Offline Viktor Anufriev
      Viktor Anufriev (Victor) 7 May 2023 20: 21
      The Northern Sea Route is located there.
      1. Captain stoner Offline Captain stoner
        Captain stoner (Captain Stoner) 7 May 2023 21: 22
        If you are engaged in coastal swimming along the coast of Russia, then it will do, but with a big stretch. If for export, then the northern export was covered with a copper basin, and all these Belkomurs are good only for cutting good money.
  7. unc-2 Offline unc-2
    unc-2 (Nikolai Malyugin) 8 May 2023 08: 01
    All previous attempts ended in nothing due to the lack of equipment. But when, in addition to state interests, there are personal interests, you involuntarily recall the "Prisoner of the Caucasus". This is precisely what a lot rests on. They say that the contract system is good. But the conscription system is all the better because people leaving for the army , are returning to the national economy. And keeping several million young people constantly under arms is very unreasonable for the state. In addition, it is easiest to deal with natural disasters with a draft army. There are no interdepartmental interests here. to catch up with the United States in railroad length.
    1. Alexey Lan Offline Alexey Lan
      Alexey Lan (Alexey Lantukh) 8 May 2023 08: 38
      There is nothing dumber than a slogan

      Catch up and overtake

      even in sports, even in steel smelting, even in ballet, and in general in the economy. The most important thing is the level of well-being of the population, the state of nature, the security of the country from the encroachment of external threats. So the railway should promote these principles, and not the principle of transporting as much cargo as possible. Why, what will it give the economy? By the way, in the USSR, the railway freight turnover on each road was significantly higher than now. There were unused and inactive sections of the railway.
      1. Nikolay Volkov Offline Nikolay Volkov
        Nikolay Volkov (Nikolai Volkov) 9 May 2023 07: 37
        in the USSR, production was in every outback, hence the demand for railways. and not only railway ... for example, you can remember how many small rivers (and not only) were closed for navigation ... and when nothing is produced, then there is nothing to carry ...

        now the country is reduced to several large metropolitan areas, the regions are dying out. hence the congestion of major railway lines and the lack of demand for some directions ...

        and about increasing the level of well-being of the population ... sorry, if you do not produce anything, then what kind of welfare can there be ??? something like what the inhabitants of the hinterland of Russia now have, very mediocre ...
  8. vvnab Offline vvnab
    vvnab (Vitali) 9 May 2023 19: 34
    the reason was a large-scale amnesty

    Well, enough already about the efficiency of slave labor! Well, crap!
    1. Alexey Lan Offline Alexey Lan
      Alexey Lan (Alexey Lantukh) 13 May 2023 15: 41
      If you are a hired worker, then you are a slave. And it doesn't matter who you are: a steelmaker, a journalist, a political scientist. And no matter what country: USA, Germany, Switzerland or Russia.
    2. Viktor Anufriev Offline Viktor Anufriev
      Viktor Anufriev (Victor) 15 May 2023 10: 48
      And where was the statement that forced labor is effective?
      Or do you simply deny the very existence in the Soviet Union of such a phenomenon as forced labor?