MOSCOW, Feb. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Russian Railways Andrey Belousov summed up the 2020 results and outlined development priorities for 2021 at the annual board meeting.
"Russian Railways is of existential importance for the Russian economy. The company's contribution to Russia's GDP last year was 5.5%. RZD employs 720,000 people. This is about 1% of everyone employed in the economy, as well as almost a quarter of the employees of the country's entire transportation system. Last year we faced a unique challenge: the coronavirus pandemic hit the rail industry hard, especially in regards to passenger transportation,'' he said.
According to Andrey Belousov, Russian Railways has withstood this test of strength with dignity. Despite the difficulties it faced, the company achieved a positive financial result and successfully placed perpetual bonds, which made it possible to implement an investment program in the amount of 717 billion rubles.
The chairman of the board of directors noted the merits of production, passenger, logistics, economic, investment and building blocks of the company.
"I want to thank the entire team for the work they did, everyone who worked, without exaggeration, in emergency mode. During this difficult time, you acted efficiently and smoothly. You managed to ensure our uninterrupted operation and maintain the quality of transportation services," he stressed.
Speaking about the tasks of the company in 2021, Belousov noted that, first and foremost, it is necessary to ensure the uninterrupted operation of the passenger complex in suburban and long-distance travel under conditions of recovering demand. According to him, traffic in the suburbs is expected to increase 12% this year when compared to the level of 2019.
"Organizers of suburban transportation—Russian Railways, regions, and suburban companies—must work in a unified manner. Funding for commitments must be met in full and on-time. At the same time, uncontested routes and routes to hard-to-reach settlements should not be reduced. Benefits for citizens who are entitled to them should remain," said Belousov.
He also said that unconditionally fulfilling all investment plans is another key task. The volume of the investment program of Russian Railways for 2021–2023 exceeds 3 trillion rubles, of which 731.6 billion is for the current year. Special attention should be paid to developing the BAM and Tran-Siberian, acquiring new rolling stock, and increasing the overhaul of the track.
In addition, in order to increase the transparency of rail transportation, it is necessary to implement a mechanism for concluding contracts on the principle of "take or pay" with our main shippers. First and foremost, it is necessary to work out the transportation of coal. Belousov called this task the most acute for now, given the social significance of this cargo.
He noted the importance of observing the social obligations to our employees in the coming year.
"Taking into account the complexity of the past year and the workloads experienced by our employees, the company needs to ensure the strict fulfillment of its social obligations," said Belousov.
He reminded that these obligations are enshrined in Russian Railways' collective agreement. Approximately 100 bln rubles were allocated for it last year.