On 25 October the 12th UIC Sustainability Conference opened in Venice (Italy). The conference involved UIC Director-General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, CEO of Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, Vice-Chairman of UIC, Chairman of CER Mauro Moretti, President of JSC Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin, and UN and World Bank representatives. European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas addressed the conference participants in his video speech.
President of JSC Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin gave the speech during the strategic session “Global and European context. Railway development in the framework of the three pillars of sustainability: economic, social, environmental.” His presentation covered the global transport system sustainability issue from RZD’s point of view.
In his speech Vladimir Yakunin underlined the utmost importance of the part railroads play both for individual nations and globally. He said that despite the difficult situation due to the global economic crisis, many countries keep on raising investments in their railway systems.
“For Russia, the railway transport is in fact a key factor in the economy. JSC RZD is the largest transport company in Russia servicing over 44% of goods turnover and 30% of passenger turnover. According to some estimates, the company’s share in GDP is about 1.8%. Being an active investor RZD is one of the largest taxpayers in Russia. In 2011, the company paid over 268 billion rubles to the budget”, said the President of JSC Russian Railways.
Speaking on the company’s development, the President of RZD attracted the conference participants’ attention to the fact that railway operations in Russia didn’t stop for a single day during the crisis period. Vladimir Yakunin stressed that this was a company achievement since RZD implements strong social policy supporting employees for professional development and providing multilevel social backup. One of the main thrusts in the company’s policy is its youth policy, aimed at attracting and keeping young specialists in the company, involving them in important company decisions, and enhancing their personal and professional competence. At the same time the company provides support to retired employees.
“Our company is one of the largest employers in the country. JSC RZD employs about one million people. We are responsible for providing all of them with proper social support and for investing in human resources. Our employees are the company’s key assets”, said the RZD President.
He underlined that railways should render better transport service, cut travel time and expenses for their customers and passengers in order to successfully develop and solve issues that transport companies face in their everyday activities. According to Vladimir Yakunin, the only way to perform these important tasks is to permanently innovate, use innovative engineering solutions and new materials. He told the conference participants that RZD actively cooperates with leading international manufacturers and railway administrations. The importance of the international cooperation in this field is getting even bigger in the light of establishing the common economic space.
“We closely cooperate with our foreign partners on the project of establishing a new Eurasian corridor from the Pacific Ocean to Slovakia and Austria,” said Vladimir Yakunin.
Currently, the Russian railway network is implementing a set of measures to establish multimodal terminals and logistics centres along international transportation corridors running through Russia. At the same time a backbone network for regular container routes is being developed, covering the junction points in the Russian railway system.
The JSC Russian Railways President also expressed an opinion that the sustainable development of transport is impossible without the environmental pillar. He said that RZD pays serious attention to reducing harmful effects of technology on the environment: “The company has been deploying the long-term environmental strategy for several years already. It entails a significant reduction of harmful effects on the environment: 35% by 2015 and 70% by 2030. In 2009, “The RZD Environmental Strategy” won the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment “Best Environmental Project” award for the integrated environmental protection approach.
From 2008 – 2011 RZD cut its stationary source emissions by 45% compared to 2007. Since the company’s establishment and early years, from 2003 to 2011, it has spent 3.9 billion rubles on environmental protection according to the “Ensuring Environmental Safety” investment project. In 2010, JSC Russian Railways together with other UIC members signed the Declaration on Sustainable Mobility and Transport based on the UNEP programme and the UN Global Compact agreement.