President Vladimir Putin instructed until 2019 to purchase 30,000 railway cars for their possible use in the transfer of troops in the event of a threat to the security of the state, said Russian Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Bulgakov. As explained by the representative of the Ministry of Defense, the past exercises - command and staff, strategic, with the transfer of troops - showed that today there is not enough "at least 30,000 platforms for the transfer of troops in a strategic direction." The representative of RZD refused to comment, the Ministry of Transport did not respond to the request.
According to the former military official, the platforms, like other assets of the mobilization reserve, will not belong to the Ministry of Defense and their purchase will not be carried out through the budget of the military department. The military will only get the right, if necessary, to attract these cars for their transportation and in peacetime will be able to check their availability and serviceability. According to the interlocutor of Vedomosti, it is hardly possible to buy such a number of cars under the article "mobilization preparation", according to which the Russian budget allocates about 5 billion rubles a year.
The initiative of procurement of platforms does not come from the Ministry of Defense, says another source in the military department. The Office of Military Communications of the Ministry of Defense is only interested in the possibility of RZD to provide such a number of platforms, which allows to transport the planned number of cargoes of the established dimensions. According to the site of RZD, military and special rail transportation of goods by rolling stock (for wagon owners) is provided by attracting railway rolling stock to use the monopoly. The rate of universal platform provision since January 1, 2017 is 750 rubles. Per day excluding VAT.
According to Infoline Analytics, the universal platform fleet in Russia as of January 1, 2017 was 47,700 units with an average age of 29.2 years with a standard service life of 32 years. The largest owners of the park are FGC (8200 units), Freight One (5800) and branches of Russian Railways (23 200).
Due to the high cost of new platforms (from 1.8 million rubles without VAT) and a comparatively low level of profitability (800 rubles), the largest operators actively updated the fleet as part of the modernization process with the extension of service life, recalls the general director of Infoline Analytics Mikhail Burmistrov. The purchase of new platforms is now impractical, as modernization in enterprises can take up to 400 platforms per month (up to 5000 per year), and in the park of RZhD and its subsidiaries more than 6000 platforms, the expert continues. In the case of buying cars, the contract will be signed by Transmash, Engels ZMK, Altayvagon, Ruzkhimmash, Novozybkovsky MZ, he concludes.