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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia—China has signed up to design a high-speed railway between the Russian cities of Moscow and Kazan, one of the first concrete examples of the new business with China that Russian officials have been pursuing with renewed vigor since falling out with the West.
A unit of Russia’s state-owned JSC Russian Railways signed a contract Thursday with the design unit of China’s state-controlled China Railway Group to come up with the plans for a 770 kilometer high-speed rail between the two Russian cities. The Chinese firm will work alongside two Russian companies for on the designs for a total cost of 20.8 billion rubles ($383 million) over the next two years, according to Russian Railways.
Once the designs are developed, a separate tender will be held for the actual construction of the rail link, which Russian Railways expects to cost 1.06 trillion rubles ($19.5 billion). It is “likely” China’s rail developers will land that massive contract as well, but it isn’t guaranteed, Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin said in an interview Friday at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum.
“It is quite likely,” Mr. Yakunin said. “Of course the one who is participating in the planning has an advantage. This is obvious.”
Still, he said the final decision will be based not on who participates in the design stage but rather on what kind of financing, loans and other guarantees are on offer from the bidders. He said the tender would take place once the design is done.
This article first appeared on www.wsj.com
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