Source Pravda.Ru

Consortium eyed for proposed Korea-Europe rail link via Siberia

A new international consortium will be needed for construction and later management of the proposed Trans-Korean rail line, Gennady Fadeyev, president of Russian Railways (RZhD), declared here Tuesday, according to his firm's press service.

'Russia is interested in continuing work toward the creation of the Trans-Korean line and its connection with the Trans-Siberian route,' Fadeyev said. RZhD has prepared a technical analysis of the project, for approximately USD 16.3 million, including possible links between the railways of North and South Korea. 'All this will be handed over to the Ministry for Economic Development and Trade for further decisions,' Fadeyev was quoted as saying. He said negotiations among the interested parties was a matter for the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Ministry for Economic Development and Trade since the construction and subsequent management of the line would require creation of an international consortium. The project is expected to cost USD 2 billion (earlier, the estimate was given as approximately USD 3.4 billion).

The decision to organize a direct rail connection between the Republic of Korea and Russia was made by Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in August 2001 in Moscow. With modernization, the Trans-Korea line would become the world's shortest Asia-Europe transit corridor. The line would carry goods between Russia, North Korea, the Republic of Korea and European countries. The total could come to 3.3 million tonnes by 2005 and 4.9 million tonnes by 2010, estimate suggest.