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    Beware, the tariff is being sent // Russian Railways wants to introduce an updated price list as early as 2023

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    Russian Railways decided to drastically speed up work on a new tariff system: instead of 2026, the monopoly plans to introduce it at the end of 2023. From the beginning of 2023, Russian Railways also wants to introduce a new way of indexing freight rates based on the price parity index. Previously, the monopoly offered to simply switch from consumer inflation to industrial inflation. At the same time, JSC Russian Railways is against the allocation of various components and cost items in the tariff, which, according to experts, does not contribute to the transparency of pricing.

    JSC Russian Railways, as part of the discussion of the new tariff price list roads) proposes to switch to a new model of indexation of freight rates from January 1, 2023. A proposal to evaluate the feasibility of such a transition is contained in a letter from Deputy General Director of Russian Railways Alexei Shilo to the Monopoly Consumer Council dated August 11 (Kommersant has it). differentiation of tariffs depending on the demand for destinations. Previously, the monopoly insisted on taking into account the price pressure index in the tariff formula (see Kommersant dated September 13, 14 and 30, 2021), which implies a change in the formula for indexing the consumer inflation tariff to industrial inflation. At that time, this meant an increase in tariff revenues of Russian Railways by about 30 billion rubles. per year in 2022–2024.

    The letter states that “it is proposed to fix the deadlines for the implementation of measures related to the final adjustment of the tariff system and the transition to a new price list during 2022–2023.” This means, two interlocutors told Kommersant, that Russian Railways wants to introduce a new tariff model in a test mode in the fall of 2023, and in a permanent mode in December 2023 instead of the scheduled January 1, 2026. Russian Railways also speaks of the need to include measures to modify the tariff system in the field of passenger transportation – this new model, the interlocutor of Kommersant explains, is proposed to be introduced simultaneously with freight.

    Discussion on the allocation of these components to increase transparency tariff setting and a clear separation of costs has been going on for a long time, JSC Russian Railways opposed this even when discussing the target market model (TsMR), which was later abandoned. no relation to the level of tariff indexation, which is set at the level of the arithmetic average of the CPI for four years minus 0.1%. He clarifies that since June 1, tariffs have already increased by 11%, which significantly exceeds the level fixed in policy documents, and a change in the tariff formula will lead to a new increase in the costs of shippers, who are already in a difficult economic situation. All tariff decisions should be made in discussions with the relevant departments and market participants, the interlocutor of Kommersant emphasizes. work on the tariff model indicates the high readiness of the document itself. At the same time, Mr. Khusainov considers the desire of the monopoly to refuse to allocate tariff components and various cost elements as negative. On the one hand, the expert explains, without the allocation of OJSC Russian Railways, it can “maneuver resources more easily”. But transparency is important, he emphasizes, “not even because the shippers will be able to see the cost structure, but because the very fact of such a separation will allow regulators to assess the existence of areas of inefficiency that require intervention.”

    The monopoly itself, too should be aware of inefficient elements, Mr. Khusainov adds, in order to understand the directions of optimization. In the consolidated indicator, “it is easy to hide the unprofitability of certain types of activities, and this destroys incentives to increase efficiency,” the expert emphasizes: RZD may also be “dizzy with success” after successfully negotiating an unprecedented 11% tariff increase this year. The expert doubts that the model is realistic “to properly discuss and finalize” in such a short time. Meanwhile, Mr. Burmistrov notes, the government has already given instructions to ensure the loading of railway engineering enterprises, accelerate the construction of infrastructure at the Eastern Range and maintain the track in a standard condition, and “with such a formulation of the issue, the goal of the new tariff model can only be to increase the income of JSC Russian Railways.”

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