Stepan Shkapich, a representative of the CIS Executive Committee, has told RIA Novosti that CIS states are planning to draft, by 2005, a program of development of international transportation corridors on territory of the Commonwealth. The objective of the program is to integrate transport systems of CIS states into European and Asian transportation systems.
According to Shkapich, an important place in this program will be occupied by the Trans-Siberian railroad which unites the European part of Russia with its Far Eastern coast. Moscow believes that once an agreed tariff policy of CIS states has been established, the Trans-Siberian railroad and other land transportation corridors of the Commonwealth may become successful competitors to sea transportation routes linking Europe and Asia.
The CIS Executive Committee representative cited the following figures: the distance between Hamburg in Germany and Yokohama in Japan is 20,500 km by sea, and 12,900 km by railroad (via the Trans-Siberian road). The former route takes 28 days, while the latter is two times shorter. However, due to the lack of a single tariff policy in CIS states, more than 300 million tons of transit cargo is transported by sea, and only one percent of this transit fall on CIS railway transport.