To help alleviate the temporary liquidity constraints caused by the decline of long-haul passenger transportation and deferred client payments against the backdrop of the COVID-19 Outbreak, AIIB is extending financing to Russian Railways (RZD) in the local currency equivalent of USD 300 million.

RZD owns and operates Russia’s integrated national passenger and freight railway network and is the largest commercial employer in Russia with around 900,000 employees at the end of 2019. This AIIB loan will contribute to the company’s efforts to preserve jobs and the working conditions of employees and ensure continuous operations.

Covering approximately 85,500 kilometres of track, Russia’s railway system is the world’s third-longest railway network, second largest railway in terms of freight turnover and fourth-largest railway in terms of passenger turnover.

In addition to transporting passengers across large distances, its rail routes link to busy seaports that service Asia and Europe, serving as a “land bridge” between them, thus contributing to Russia’s domestic and foreign trade.

However, as with all transportation companies, RZD faces the negative impacts of COVID-19. In particular, long-haul passenger rail operations in Russia have been severely affected; in some months, the decline in passenger turnover reached 70 percent.

The project aligns with AIIB’s commitment to support infrastructure clients in responding to the COVID-19 crisis through the Bank’s COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility (CRF). With such support, clients can successfully overcome temporary liquidity constraints and maintain critical long-term investments.

“With this project, AIIB contributes to the support for railway transportation services, which remain a socially significant and the most affordable means of transport for millions of citizens, and an efficient way to transport large quantities of goods and freight,” said AIIB Vice President, Investment Operations, Konstantin Limitovskiy.

“AIIB’s commitment to sustainability has to go beyond just the infrastructure itself. It must also account for the people, both those who provide and those who depend on its services.”

This project is funded by the AIIB Crisis Recovery Facility and is AIIB’s first approved non-Sovereign CRF Project in Russia.

The CRF provides up to USD 13 billion of financing to both public and private-sector entities facing serious adverse impacts as a result of the pandemic. As of October 15, 2020, AIIB’s Board of Directors has approved a total of 22 projects amounting to over USD6.645 billion to help 16 members navigate the challenges of these highly uncertain times.