The Russia-Mongolia-China economic corridor will open for international road transport next year, according to Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov, who is reviewing preparations on the implementation of an intergovernmental agreement on international transport via the Asian network of highways.
“We expect that this agreement will come into effect and will be ratified shortly in our countries. Haulage via the Russia-Mongolia-China corridor will open already next year, in 2018. This is the development of the central railway corridor, organizing transit trucking activities on the Tianjin-Ulaan Baatar-Ulan-Ude route and paving a road along this route. The issue of obtaining bilateral and multilateral permission for hauling different types of cargoes between the countries is now under discussion. A data bank is being put together with a list of shipments that will include oil cargoes and unified containers.”
Sokolov said that Russia’s transport policy has taken priority within the framework of trilateral cooperation with Russia, Mongolia, and China. This is backed up by the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who spoke in February of proceeding with the economic corridor project. He said construction of a transport corridor linking the three countries helps support economic development, and encourages Mongolia’s participation in international affairs.
Mongolia already acts as a connecting route between China and Russia via the Mongolian leg of the Trans-Mongolian railway. This is linked directly to Beijing, and proceeds via the Chinese Province of Inner Mongolia, passing through Erenhot where bogies are changed, before proceeding into Mongolia en route to Russia. The road route follows a similar course.
There are maintenance problems with the road network. Mongolia has a harsh climate, hot in summer, and dropping to -40 degrees in winter. Heavy freight, which already uses the route from Ulaan Baatar to Ulan Ude is unkind to the roads, which quickly develop damaged tarmac and potholes. Better quality road construction as well as regular maintenance teams will need to be deployed, as will a series of better quality stops for drivers, fuel, and supplies. Improvements have been made over the years, including the imposition of quality internet range along the Mongolian roads. For foreign investors familiar with providing haulage services along distant motorways, opportunities may exist.
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