Sochi highlights infrastructure problems

Russia’s Olympic city of 2014 has been hosting events to draw attention to the country’s infrastructure problems. Transport Week, a railway business forum and a transport exhibition have all been held. Top managers from Russian companies met to discuss wh

The huge territory of Russia is both a blessing and a curse for its transport infrastructure. Potentially very attractive to investors, it's still poorly developed, which especially hurts the regions.

Russia’s Transport Ministry has set an ambitious goal for the next seven years, to build or renovate thousands of kilometres of road and railway, to almost double ports’ capacity, and to buy new trains and planes.

“This year we’re planning to develop railway container yards alongside the Russian railway network. Mostly we’re targeting terminals near Moscow as the biggest centre for cargo handling – as well as consumption and processing, in Bratsk, Novosibirsk, near Vladivostok and St. Petersburg. In Vladivostok and St. Petersburg we would like to develop logistics centres,” Evgeny Ambrosov, head of FESCO Transport Group, explained.

Many investors are hesitant because of legal uncertainties. “There are a lot of opportunities for private money in infrastructure sector as well, but the absence of clarity and the law in this sector makes it impossible for private sector to invest,” Andrey Sharonov, managing director of Troika Dialog, said.

With the Olympics coming, the need to modernise southern transport hubs, especially in Sochi, will require considerable investment. This is mostly urgent in the case of infrastructure development, says the President of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin.

“It’s not only the creation of the railway to Krasnaya Polyana, which will require big money – more than 100 billion roubles; it’s also the development of an entire new infrastructure,” he said.