By Sergei Gusachenko: High-speed trains which have been connecting Minsk to the national airport since early November will from now on be produced near Minsk - the Belarusian-Swiss plant Stadler Minsk has launched in Fanipol today.
Stadler Minsk is one of the most successful Belarusian-Swiss projects. The collaboration started a few years ago when the Belarusian Railways bought 10 Swiss electric trains. The machinery worked so well that in 2012 the President issued a decree establishing the joint venture Stadler Minsk. So far, 50 million dollars have been invested in the project. Currently, Stadler Minsk is one of the most modern production facilities in Europe.
According to Stadler Rail Group Director Peter Spuhler, a stable economic and political situation in Belarus along with highly qualified staff attracts potential investors to the country. An important factor is the development of the Eurasian Economic Union.
The first double-decker aeroexpress train assembled in Switzerland and commissioned in Belarus was presented last week in Moscow. The total of 25 electric trains will be purchased by a Russian company, the majority of which -- 21 trains - will be produced in Fanipol.
According to Stadler Minsk Director Vladimir Korol, the project was implemented in a very short time frame. He believes the partnership with the Swiss company to be a breakthrough.
Philipp Brunner - Stadler Minsk production director - considers Belarus' geographical position to be one of the plant's benefits as transportation costs are significantly lower compared to other European plants. Therefore, Stadler Minsk can produce trains for the Baltic countries and Finland. The facility is included in the Minsk free economic zone, which provides the plant with a number of favorable conditions.
Belarusian specialists have been trained in Switzerland. Nearly 700 new jobs have been created in Minsk, Dzerzhinsk and Fanipol, and the figure is expected to reach 1,000 next year.
Stadler Minsk and its Belarusian partner - Belkommunmash - should develop together. The President keeps on monitoring the situation and is dissatisfied with the current state of things. In turn, Peter Spuhler assured that the instructions will be fulfilled.
Alexander Lukashenko arrived at the opening ceremony in a new double-decker Stadler Kiss train and later familiarized himself with the modern production process and answered the questions of foreign and Belarusian journalists concerning Fanipol's further development and the prospects of cooperation between Belarus and European partners.