A group of specialists from Far East Railway Department (FERD) of the Russian Ministry of Railways departs on Monday to the DPRK to inspect the route for the future Trans-Korean Railway. After the construction of the Unified Korean Railway, connecting Korea's south and north, the railroad would eventually join the Russian Trans-Siberian Railway.
According to the FERD press service, the group consists of 35 prospectors, project managers and other experts.
The continuation of the project study will continue in the context of the Russian-Korean memorandum signed in November 2002 in Pyongyang. The document provides for moving the main route closer to the ocean.
In order to do this, the experts will have to inspect more than 100 km of a new stretch of the proposed railway and prepare the corresponding technical survey documentation. They will spend a month in North Korea.
The first survey team was sent to North Korea in 2001. The experts inspected the whole 781-km stretch of the future Trans-Korean railway on the territory of the DPRK.
After the survey was completed, the experts provided a complete set of technical documentation for the reconstruction of the railway on the territory of North Korea.
At the same time, the Russian side had already started to modernize the 240-km stretch from Hasan station near Russian-Korean border to the junction with the Trans-Siberian Railway at Baranovskaya station.
According to the Russian Ministry of Railways, as a result of successful completion of the project, Russia will be able to increase the volume of rail freight by 500,000 20-foot containers a year. The additional profits resulting from this increase might reach more than $1 billion dollars. However, the Russian side is ready to participate in this project only if the Korean side would guarantee the freight volumes.
Business circles in Japan, China and Central European countries are very interested in the reconstruction of the Trans-Korean Railway and its connection with the Trans-Siberian Railway because this route will become the shortest container transit corridor "Asia-Europe-Asia" in the world. Freight trains would be able to travel the whole length of this route one way in only 12 days. Since the beginning of 2002, the volume of international container freight in the "East-West-East" corridor has increased by 38 percent, and during 2001 - by 25 percent, reported the FERD press service.
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