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Integration into a shared network

Uniform transportation rules and technologies are in place for 16 Eurasian states

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A joint information and analytics initiative by 1520International and the Institute of Economics and Transportation Development (IETD).

Following the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States on February 14, 1992, the heads of government of the CIS countries signed the Agreement on Coordinating Bodies for Railway Transport. Simultaneously, the Railway Transport Council was established, comprising the heads of railway administrations and transport authorities, along with the formation of its executive body.

The need to establish the Railway Transport Council of the Commonwealth member states arose from the objective requirement in the new geopolitical landscape to develop enduring transport and economic ties among the states that emerged from the former USSR territory. The challenge was not only to maintain the efficient transportation technology for passengers and cargo, as well as the shared information space, but also to foster integration within the CIS region.

The Railway Transport Council, comprising heads of administrations and railway transport management bodies, was formed to coordinate railway transport activities within the Commonwealth of Independent States at the interstate level and to establish mutually agreed principles for the operation and advancement of railway transport.

The primary goal of establishing the Council is to uphold an efficient technology for continuous transportation of passengers and cargo, a unified information environment, and to promote the advancement of integration links within the CIS.

The executive body of the Council is the Directorate of the Railway Transport Council of the Commonwealth member states.

Currently, 16 railroad administrations participate in the Council's work: CJSC Azerbaijan Railways, CJSC South Caucasus Railroad, SE Belarusian Railroad, JSC National Company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, SE National Company Kyrgyz Temir Zholy, SE Moldovan Railroad, JSC Russian Railways, SUE Tajik Railroad, Agency of the National Company Kyrgyz Temir Zholy, State Unitary Enterprise Kyrgyz Railroad, Tajik Railways, Agency Turkmen Railways, JSC Uzbek Railways, JSC Georgian Railways, SAO Latvian Railways, JSC Lithuanian Railways, JSC Estonian Railways, Railways of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Afghan Railway Administration.

The railroad network length of the states involved in the Council's work exceeds 136,000 km, with electrified lines spanning 59.8 thousand km.

The total cargo volume loaded on the railway network of these countries exceeds 1.7 billion tons annually; with a freight turnover of over 3.0 trillion tkm and nearly 162 billion passenger-km for passenger turnover. 

Throughout its tenure, the Council has formulated over 360 agreements, rules, instructions, and other regulatory documents that oversee collaborative efforts in international freight and passenger transportation, as well as the operation and maintenance of technical facilities for rolling stock. The Council's documents are continuously updated, enabling the prompt incorporation of modern transportation requirements and technical advancements.

The Council's agenda covers key operational aspects of international railroad work, including joint maintenance of freight cars and containers, enhancing regulations for passengers and cargo, optimizing traffic schedules and train formation plans, ensuring traffic safety, establishing an efficient system for accounting and mutual payments for services, advancing scientific and technological collaboration, and developing a shared information platform for the railroad network of 15-gauge railways.

The primary document outlining the future of railway development in the Commonwealth member states is the Strategic Development Concept for Railway Transport in the "1520 Area" until 2030. It was endorsed by the CIS Council of Heads of Government on November 12, 2021.

Starting from January 1, 2024, the Russian Federation has taken over the chairmanship of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
As outlined in the 2024 Concept of the Russian Federation's Presidency in the Commonwealth of Independent States, a key objective is to enhance the transport sector.
"The Priority Areas of Cooperation among CIS Member States in transportation until 2030 will focus on enhancing the East-West and North-South trans-Eurasian logistical corridors, leveraging the vast transit potential of the Eurasian region."

The data from the transport system of the states involved in the Council's activities indicates that the organization effectively coordinates railway transport operations at the interstate level. It also aligns regulatory frameworks, establishes mutual conditions and principles for railway transport operations, ensuring the functioning and growth of transport and economic ties among member states of the Commonwealth within a unified economic zone.

According to IETD

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