In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Russian Railways and a consortium of companies in the Republic of Korea in the presence of the Presidents of the two countries on 13 November 2013 in Seoul, a working visit to the port of Rajin took place during the period 11-13 February 2014 in order to conduct a technical audit. Taking part in the working visit were representatives of the RZD Holding and the companies POSCO, KORAIL and HMM, as well as South Korea’s advisor, the consulting firm РwС.
During the trip, the South Korean experts had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the infrastructure which had been modernised by Russian Railways, including a 54-km railway section and pier number 3 at the port of Rajin. Joint consultations were organised with the participation of Russian Railways, the Republic of Korea’ Ministry of Railways and South Korean companies.
The parties also discussed the possibility of jointly organising experimental coal shipments through the port of Rajin in April this year.
This working trip is the first joint visit of representatives from Russian Railways and South Korean companies to North Korea and, therefore, an important step in implementing the intent of the three countries to restore inter-Korean rail links with access to the Trans-Siberian Railway, which will create the preconditions for the implementation of other projects in the format of trilateral cooperation.
The first trilateral meeting of the leaders of the railway administrations of Russia, North Korea and South Korea were held in 2006 in Irkutsk, where it was agreed to start reconstructing the Khasan – Rajin line and the port of Rajin as a pilot project to restore the Trans-Korean Railway.
The project is being implemented by the joint venture RasonKonTrans, which was set up in 2008 with equity participation from RZD Trading House (70%) and the port of Rajin (30%).
During the reconstruction, track superstructure was replaced on the combined gauge (1520 mm and 1435 mm), 30 artificial structures were restored, including tunnels, modern signalling systems were installed and main communication lines laid.
The Khasan – Rajin railway section was opened on 22 September 2013. In the port of Rajin, construction and installation work is currently being completed and equipment being fitted and commissioned. The terminal is due to enter service in spring 2014.
Total investment in the project to date is approximately 9.5 billion roubles. The project provides for the transportation of up to 4 million tons of coal per annum. In the future, freight volumes and the range of goods shipped, including container transport, are expected to increase.