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Online EEF 2021 Session in Blagoveshchensk Addresses Development of Transport Infrastructure and Cross-Border Economic Cooperation

26 July 2021
Развитие транспортной инфраструктуры и приграничного экономического сотрудничества обсудили в Благовещенске в рамках онлайн-сессии ВЭФ – 2021

Blagoveshchensk hosted an online session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) 2021 titled ‘New Transport Infrastructure Facilities as Drivers for the Development of Cross-Border Economic Cooperation and Tourism’ as part of the business programme of the AmurExpoForum 2021. The event was organized by the Amur Region Government in cooperation with the Roscongress Foundation, the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, and the Far East and Arctic Development Corporation.

Amur Region Governor Vasily Orlov and representatives of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Jewish Autonomous Region, and the Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Heilongjiang took part in an online session at the venue titled ‘Boiling Point – Blagoveshchensk’. The session was moderated by Olga Surikova, Director of the Tax and Legal Consulting Department at KPMG and an expert in the development of the Far East and Arctic.

“I’m very glad that this session is being held here – in the region with the longest section of the Russian-Chinese border. The Amur Region and Heilongjiang Province have been working intensively in recent years to create a stable transport link and transport infrastructure. A new road bridge and all the accompanying infrastructure has been built across the Amur River, and we are currently in the active stage of creating a unique cross-border cable car and building a second runway and an airport terminal. These projects are forming new points of growth in many industries,” Amur Region Governor Vasily Orlov said.

Key infrastructure projects that represent a new pillar for the development of bilateral cross-border cooperation between the Amur Region and China were presented at the session. Major transport arteries pass through the region. A few years ago, this potential helped to outline plans for the establishment of modern logistics in the interests of foreign economic activity participants. “The continuous growth in the level of cooperation between the border regions of Russia and China is beneficial for the residents of our territories, so that they can write a new page in this new era,” Heilongjiang Province Governor Hu Changsheng said.

Construction has been completed on a cross-border road bridge between Blagoveshchensk and Heihe in the immediate vicinity of the city. This is a major infrastructure project that is of strategic importance for the Amur Region and the entire Far East. A project is being implemented to build the Kanikurgan customs and logistics terminal in order to engage in foreign economic activities and provide services to passengers and drivers as well as vehicle maintenance in the area around the bridge. In addition to modern warehouse infrastructure as well as service and maintenance areas for vehicles, the investor will build a customs zone with temporary storage warehouses and a separate phytosanitary control zone.

Another landmark international project in the Amur Region is the construction of the world’s first cross-border cable car across the Amur River between Blagoveshchensk and Heihe. The project is being implemented as part of an intergovernmental agreement between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China and is being overseen by the ministries of transport of the two countries. In addition, a domestic airlines terminal will be rebuilt at Ignatyevo Airport in Blagoveshchensk to serve international destinations by 2024.

Far East and Arctic Development Corporation Managing Director Roman Sementsov noted that the new transport infrastructure in the Amur Region, in particular the cross-border bridge and cable car, is contributing to the development of tourism facilities. He said it is essential to build high-quality infrastructure and link projects with the development of the transport network in order to serve the growing flow of foreign tourists.

“The logistics and new ideas must develop together. This will make it possible to obtain a synergistic effect. For this, we can use both the instruments of preferential arrangements of advanced special economic zones and the free port of Vladivostok, and new, promising instruments – the Far Eastern and Arctic concessions,” Roman Sementsov said.

The Far Eastern and Arctic concessions are a mechanism that involves a public-private partnership, which will make it possible to build new facilities worth around RUB 500 billion over the next five years, including transport and tourism facilities, he said. The Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic will be implementing the complex concession projects in the one-stop shop format.

The redirection of cargo flows is an additional incentive in the development of cross-border economic cooperation.

“The Transport Directorate plans to regularly monitor the traffic flows to the Far East. We realize that some of these flows can be redirected to the infrastructure that is being built in the Amur Region. Seeing the interest shown by business, as represented by the Region Group, we understand that the development of the company’s business model coincides with our vision of the situation. We plan to be in close contact with the Amur Region Government and business in order to develop optimal solutions for the movement of goods from China to Europe through the international bridge,” said Alexey Petrov, General Director of ANO Directorate of International Transport Corridors. “In addition, we are working with the regional authorities and business on the possible use of unmanned vehicles to transport containers from Blagoveshchensk to China and back.”

The conclusions reached at the visiting session will be recommended for discussion at the Eastern Economic Forum, which will be held in Vladivostok on 2–4 September.