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Representatives of business and government support Forum

Leading representatives of business and government have supported the VII International Rail Business Forum “1520 Strategic Partnership”, which is to take place from 30 May to 1 June in Sochi.

Key theme of the Forum: “The 1520 area: formula for growth in the system of economic and trade unions”. As before, the Forum’s partners are Russian Railways, Siemens AG and Deutsche Bahn AG. The organiser of the Forum is Business Dialogue.

Representatives of the political establishment and the business community have sent letters of support to those taking part in the Forum.

Siim Kallas, vice-president of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Transport, said in his message, “I am determined that we need a strong and competitive transport industry at the heart of the economy – and I am convinced that transport investment will be an important factor in restoring growth – and jobs – to Europe.Many long distance flows depend on good links between the 1435 and 1520mm railway systems – not only trade with Russia and central Asia but also across it to China and the Far East. This conference will give us the chance to deepen our cooperation, identify possibilities for further development, but also to address any differences and difficulties which are hindering the development we all desire.”

Vladimir Yakunin, president of Russian Railways, emphasised in his greetings to the Forum participants, “The purpose of the Forum agenda is to work out the specific guidelines for the development of rail transport in the context of international trade expansion and intensified integration processes in the ‘1520 area’. Specifically, the Forum will outline arrangements for further forming of the unified operating standards for railway transport within the Common Economic Space and the Commonwealth of Independent States and provide a glimpse of the future contours of the transportation market given Russia's accession to the World Trade Organisation. The Forum will focus on practical interaction with the European Union which is crucial for the ‘1520 area’. Our strategic dialogue with western partners will highlight modernisation of the railway infrastructure with a view to enhancing the competitive power of trans-European routes.”

Rüdiger Grube, chairman of Deutsche Bahn AG, noted in his greetings that the entry of Russia into the WTO and the creation of the Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan had posed serious challenges to the transport and logistics sector. Participation in international economic unions will lead not only to accelerated integration into global trade flows and an increase in the volume of transport, but also to more intense competition between railways – regardless of their gauge – and other types of transport. “Therefore our objective must be to protect rail’s ability to compete in global logistics chains. We must continue to take advantage of synergies with other modes of transportation and to use rail’s environmental advantages to offer our customers reliable, top-quality transports that are worth their price.”

Oleg Sienko, director general of the Uralvagonzavod Research and Production Corporation, stated in his message to the Forum’s participants, “This is the seventh time when the most well-known and qualified representatives of Russian railway sector and our foreign colleagues are gathering in Sochi. Sochi has become a genuine symbol of modern Russia and domestic transport infrastructure. Steel main lines of the ‘1520 area’ unite hundreds of thousands of kilometres ensuring uninterrupted railway communication between the countries of the CIS, Baltic, Mongolia and Finland. And our common aim is to transform one of the largest railway ‘1520 area’ into actively developing transport system of the world and to make all efforts for effective integration of the wide gauge into the world transport network and for creation of the united railway system of the future.”

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