Herbert Smith Freehills has announced the Europe-Western China International Transit Corridor (EWC ITC) project, a transcontinental route designed to recreate a modern-day Silk Road.
A recent seminar held on 22 October in Beijing by Herbert Smith Freehills' China and Moscow teams brought together representatives of major companies with interests in infrastructure, industrial projects and new industries for the Silk Road. The roundtable was devoted to Sino-Russian infrastructure opportunities with official representatives of the state company Russian Highways, Avtodor, taking the floor to present the project to potential Chinese investors.
The total length of the road will be 8,400 km. The length of the Russian section from the Northern capital to the border with Kazakhstan will be about 2,300 km. The transport route will include such projects as the new M11 Moscow-Saint Petersburg high-speed motorway, start-up facility No.3 of the Central Ring Road (CRR), the Moscow-Nizhny Novgorod-Kazan high-speed motorway, the Shali settlement-Bavly settlement route in the Republic of Tatarstan, the Bavly settlement-Kumertau route in the Republic of Bashkortostan and the road from Kumertau to the border with Kazakhstan.
The estimated project value is more than RUB1 trillion (US$15.45 billion).
Commenting on the event, Rauf Yabbarov, the Advisor to the President of the Board of Avtodor State Company for Interaction with Investors, said:
"As of today, Avtodor State Company has proceeded to pre-project works, including development of the transport model and financial feasibility study for the EWC ITC construction project. This project is strategically important for both Russia and China and will make it possible to ensure the development of comprehensive ties between the European states with the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and other countries of Central and South East Asia. We expect to involve investors from Chinese companies in the project, and several partners have already expressed interest."
Olga Revzina, the head of Herbert Smith Freehills' infrastructure practice in Russia and CIS, added:
"EWC ITC project will be implemented on the basis of public-private partnership (PPP) principles. It is planned to raise private Russian and foreign investments along with the budgetary funds for financing of the project. The attractiveness of this project for foreign investors will, first of all, depend on proper structuring, transparency and elaboration from the legal, financial, investment and technical perspective. In this respect, a direct dialogue between Avtodor representatives and potential investors from China helped lay the groundwork for the project's successful implementation".
Beijing partner Monica Sun added:
We have recently reported on several roads PPP project globally:
"The Chinese companies attending were interested to get first-hand information on Russian infrastructure opportunities available from the project's developers as they push forward with new projects along the Silk Road. Many younger Chinese executives have limited experience of Sino-Russian projects. Export trade between the two countries has grown strongly since the early 2000s, but working together as partners on large scale projects, outside the energy sector, is a relatively new proposition."