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SCO Without Borders: Integration of Transport Infrastructure
6 June 2019
09:00—10:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
The SCO possesses great trade and economic potential

The Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation is in constant dialogue with SCO member states, given that almost a third of all of Russia’s trade turnover comes from these countries: almost RUB 145.5 billion — Vladimir Bulavin, Head, Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation.

After India and Pakistan joined, the SCO became a transcontinental organization, uniting almost half of the world’s population and covering 60% of Eurasia. <...> SCO nations’ foreign trade turnover has reached USD 6.3 trillion — Vladimir Norov, Secretary General, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

With its 244,000 km of railway track, the SCO accounts for 70% of the world’s movement of goods by train. Of this figure, Russia accounts for 28% of the world’s movement of goods by train. <...> Rail freight between Russia and SCO member states is growing: last year the figure reached 157 million tonnes — Alexander Misharin, First Vice President, Russian Railways.

ISSUES
The lack of unified technological standards

We still have various IT ecosystems: rail freight uses certain IT systems, and sea freight similarly has its own systems. While they do interact, they remain poorly synchronized — Vyacheslav Saraev, Chief Executive Officer, Head of the Executive Board, TransContainer.

All countries – including in the SCO and EU – are moving in completely different directions when it comes to technology. <...> All countries have made great inroads in developing their technology. And when it comes to the integration process, unfortunately even neighbouring countries are completely unable to simplify, for example, their customs procedures using IT — Anton Zamkov, General Director, RT-Invest Transport Systems.

One of the issues currently being examined is the fact that the major rail networks of India and Pakistan, which have rail gauges of 1,670 mm, are not linked with networks with rail gauges of 1,520 mm and 1,435 mm — Alexander Misharin, First Vice President, Russian Railways.

Excessive customs control

We need to comprehensively review our approaches in terms of control [of customs regulation, – Ed.]. Perhaps some excessive control measures could be removed. Most likely, we should review laws concerning direct and combined forms of freight — Vyacheslav Saraev, Chief Executive Officer, Head of the Executive Board, TransContainer.

Protectionism

Speaking about difficulties we encounter, these are, of course, protectionism and a clear lack of objectivity — Song Hailiang, General Director, China Communications Construction Company.

SOLUTIONS
Creating mechanisms and aligned technological regulations to support integration

I imagine that we cannot do without general legislation uniting the SCO countries, because for certain initiatives, I imagine that things will be difficult to organize — Sergey Katyrin, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.

In transport, we have 59 conventions. <...> From the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, all members acceded at least three of our conventions, and some of them 33. <...> I am happy to announce a project that is called the Euro-Asian Transport Links Project, which resulted in consensus on nine road and nine international rail routes — Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

The SCO is now becoming much more active in creating the platform for this regional connectivity. <...> I would urge you to consider whether there is the case to create within the SCO a secretariat focused specifically on encouraging and enabling infrastructure investment that crosses the borders of the region — Richard Threlfall, Partner, Global Head of Infrastructure, KPMG.

When rolling out projects we need there to be more integration development efficiency. “We need to build the mechanisms needed to support these solutions, in order for there to be shared standards, and in order for there to be greater convenience in logistics — Song Hailiang, General Director, China Communications Construction Company.

Digitalization of logistics processes

The [SCO member, – Ed.] states are making strong inroads in developing digital technologies: virtually all customs procedures and regimes have been digitalized — Vladimir Bulavin, Head, Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation.

Digitalizing the transport system will help increase carrying capacity along transport routes – particularly railways – by 40%, while reducing transport costs by up to 30% — Vladimir Norov, Secretary General, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Modernizing infrastructure

First of all, it is crucial to develop infrastructure and logistics centres linking various forms of transport. We also need to modernize the existing networks and transport facilities and accelerate the process of harmonizing and unifying standards in transport — Vladimir Norov, Secretary General, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

When it comes to rail transport, speed, security, and reliability are the main KPIs which we need to develop and improve in cooperation with our colleagues in associated rail infrastructure. This will lead to an increase in sales — Alexey Grom, President, Chairman of the Management Board, United Transport and Logistics Company – Eurasian Rail Alliance (UTLC ERA).

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS