Особенности переговоров в регионах | The peculiarities of negotiations in the regions
Evgeny Petrov: Greetings, dear viewers. My name is Evgeny Petrov. I am the Deputy General Director for Marketing at Unitsky String Technologies Inc. We are meeting in the next episode dedicated to the answers to the questions that you’ve been sending us during the year. We have several such releases planned, ending with an address of the General Designer and CEO of Unitsky String Technologies Inc., which will summarize the results of the year. Today we are on the line with Arsen Babayan, Director of Unitsky String Technologies LLC in Moscow, Oleg Zaretsky, Director of uScovery DMCC in Dubai and also employees of Unitsky String Technologies Inc. Maxim Gusev, Head of Project Management Division and Maxim Kubyshkin, Head of Design Engineering Department.
Today we will talk about the specifics of negotiations in the regions. Last time, we identified the regions where our presence currently is the most active. They include Indonesia, India, African countries, the Dominican Republic, as well as the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan. I suggest we talk about what the specifics of the projects are, what kind of projects they are, at what stages we are at and what the nuances are. Last time we started the conversation from our office in Dubai. Mr. Oleg, I suggest that you open this discussion
and tell us what tasks we are solving and what projects we are talking about. Are these passenger or cargo projects? What kind of passenger and cargo traffic is there? You may also want to tell us about other details that we can disclose. Oleg Zaretsky: I would like to say a few words about the African project, where we work on creating a global strategic complex.
This is a transcontinental transport corridor. There is a fairly well-known company in Africa that wants to build a trans-African corridor from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. The issue is that many countries, especially in the central southern part of Africa, are landlocked and logistics is a key issue there. First of all, these countries focus on cargo transportation. Passenger transportation is also interesting, but the cargo one is a priority. Logistical issues have completely blocked the development of many African countries. If we talk about a transport corridor, for example, with the help of a railway, then it is very difficult to do this because of the difficult terrain, the huge number of rivers and obstacles, as well as the unresolved land issue, where small peasants live and have tribal relations.
It is impossible to simply take the land for the construction of a railway. Therefore, string transport is ideally suited here, because it is located on the second level above ground and does not prevent farmers from harvesting their crops, which overcomes rivers, ravines, various obstacles at virtually the same cost as over a flat section of the route. Now we really hope to get a serious contract, but, unfortunately, so far it will be a contract for a feasibility study. The negotiations are carried on at a very high level in the countries through which this corridor will pass. We are negotiating. This is the presidential level. Evgeny Petrov: I know that you have met with the presidents of several countries.
Oleg Zaretsky: Yes, this is the level of presidents, ministers of transport, and very influential financial organizations, because this will be a very serious project. We didn't talk much about it last time, because the project is still at the feasibility study stage. In fact, we are talking about the first stage of this project. But nevertheless, I believe that this is the case when string transport can change the vector of development of an entire continent.
I strongly hope that we will receive a large contract for the production of a feasibility study and for the development of the concept design of this transport corridor. We are in priority due to the advantages that our string transport offers. We talked a lot about India. Now there is an avalanche of applications coming from different states and cities.
We are trying to process them and give suggestions. Meetings are held at least at the level of state prime ministers (they call them chief ministers) or state transport ministers. We don't even have time to concentrate on something specific. We have concentrated on the projects that we actually have in our hands and which are already at the design stage.
Evgeny Petrov: I would like to confirm that we also increase the amount of your work. Аfter you welcomed Indian Minister of Transport Nitin Gadkari at the uSky Center, a huge number of applications from various companies went through the website of Unitsky String Technologies Inc. Someone was interested, someone came with specific proposals. Naturally, we redirected them to your address. Oleg Zaretsky: Yes, however it’s a double-edged sword. People want to jump on a bandwagon of the moving train.
Evgeny Petrov: What I’m saying is, this is serious. Oleg Zaretsky: Yes, the hype has begun. Indeed, there are a lot of applications. But the main thing is that during the processing of these applications, many potentially possible projects are discovered, and even if we cannot process them now, then we’ll return to them tomorrow.
I said that we met with the Governor of Jakarta, with the Deputy Minister of Transport, and with the Jakarta Metro Department. They are also interested in our technology. Now we solve all the issues in Indonesia. We must resolve legal issues, formalize the legal status of the representative office, and then I hope we will have the same development as in India. That's what I wanted to say.
Evgeny Petrov: I have a generalizing question. We say that we have about 100 projects in the works. Are the projects you are conducting related to passenger or cargo transportation? Oleg Zaretsky: It is difficult to prioritize. Despite the fact that passenger projects are more difficult to obtain, they are more attractive to me. As they say, this is a fruit that hangs a little lower. Evgeny Petrov: They are of a higher status. Oleg Zaretsky: Yes, the cargo solution is more difficult to implement.
Our engineers made it so that in fact a 50-ton cargo moves along several steel ropes at a speed of 120 km/h. This, I think, is the genius of engineering. But it's also a big challenge. We are working in all directions. Evgeny Petrov: Thanks for the comment. You are so enthusiastic about container shipping solutions. I know that in the CIS they are very enthusiastic about cargo solutions, however not for the transportation of containers, but bulk cargo. We call this solution uTrans.
Arsen, tell us in detail about this direction. What prospects are opening up here and at what stage of negotiations are we at today? Arsen Babayan: I want to say that the uTrans solution for the transportation of bulk cargoes, in my opinion, is extremely in demand, especially in Russia and the CIS countries, because traditionally in the world economy we are a global source of resources in the mining industry. This can include coal, ores, metal, and inert materials. This is on the one hand. On the other hand, we have quite complex terrains.
A significant proportion of the Arctic territories rich in mineral deposits is located in Russia. uTrans is able to overcome the difficulties of the terrain along with ensuring straightness of the route and high speeds. That is why there is a huge interest in this solution. A very important point is that the technology proposed by Anatoli Unitsky is completely subdued to import substitution. It does not require any imported components. At the moment, under the conditions of sanctions pressure, this is a very important advantage. Therefore, this technology is in high demand. When compared with global analogues, uTrans is suitable for use in difficult Arctic conditions with low temperatures.
We can use a domestic ribbon of arctic production. This is also an important component. Evgeny Petrov: uTrans can be operated under wind loads and permafrost conditions. Arsen Babayan: Yes. The cargo is protected when compared with foreign analogues.
It is important that port infrastructure is needed for exports and imports in Russia. I can say that all string transport products make it possible to organize efficient sea transportation. This applies to both container and bulk cargo. Unitsky overpass transport allows the port infrastructure to be located on spacious, convenient sites that do not depend on the coastal zone terrain, which can be rocky, mountainous, or uncomfortable. The port part may be located on land or on free territories. The terminal part can be installed on anchored pontoons at sea. Thus, Unitsky string transport makes it possible to significantly reduce the cost of the port infrastructure and to make it very efficient.
In this direction we have a number of potentially interesting projects related to solving this problem. There’s a lot of interest in our technology. Evgeny Petrov: The possibilities are really amazing here. If I may, I’ll summarize, and if I’m wrong, please correct me, colleagues. We see that today most of the projects we work on are the passenger transport ones. They are strategically important for us. I mean, these are high-profile projects, status projects, if we’re talking about big enough passenger traffic.
At the same time, the cargo direction is no less important. It is now actively negotiated Each country is different in terms of project execution and project management. Let’s talk about this, we don’t have much time left. Here, Mr. Maxim, let’s start with you. I’ll remind you that Maxim Gusev is the Head of Project Management Division. The question is: what is the specifics of work depending on the region, application points and uST transport and infrastructure solutions? And how do we do that, how do we deal with these challenges that we have today? Maxim Gusev: I will tell you why UST Inc. and the group of companies as a whole pay great attention to passenger transportation. It's simple – they have a wide range of applications.
In this regard, we can recall examples of marketing projects from different countries where there was a kilometer long track, or when customers-developers said that we have areas of the same type as competitors but at the same time our prices are higher and we need to somehow stand out. In this situation, we offer our own eco-transport, which makes their project more attractive. The area itself will look different. This is one type of project. If we talk about the next type of projects, then there is such a term as the last kilometer, figuratively speaking, imagine that there is a subway… Evgeny Petrov: Mr. Maxim, let me add to the previous one you mentioned. You say that the use of uST string transport gives some marketing advantages, becomes such a feature or a recognizable object within new development solutions. But it also benefits developers and the companies we work with now.
They are well aware that the price of a square meter of rental space or living space increases if not immediately, but very significantly. Maxim Gusev: I like to tell all clients (although I don't communicate with them as often as my colleagues do) that the by-product of our anchor stations and building structures is retail space. And because of the peculiarities of our anchoring structures, we can, for example, expand the first floor and, consequently, create more commercial space that will generate additional money. And this is important in terms of return on investment. And for many countries, this will be the first such autonomous project. If we are talking about Belarus, then we did not have autonomous transport. At least, I do not know any examples.
And let’s take the uLite complex that is a small project. But at the same time, it’s the country's first self-propelled autonomous transport. Whatever you want to call it. But this is the first such type of transport in the whole country. Evgeny Petrov: Well, except for the escalator in the subway. Maxim Gusev: In this regard, yes, of course, we are not the first, but let's be more serious. We have marketing advantages. For example, the last kilometer. Let's say you’ve built a subway. There are 12 stations there, and sometimes it costs more to build the 13th one than all the previous ones that were built before because of the difficult terrain or groundwater. And this last kilometer needs to be included in the transport infrastructure. We will be able to do this, and this will be quite acceptable.
Or take, for example, moving inside a separate area, where there is a school at the end, a hospital in the front, and some other socially significant buildings on the sides. And there is no convenient transportation solution to navigate through this area. For example, for a long time in Moscow or Minsk, in order to get to the desired address a couple of kilometers away, you had to drive to the circle station, change trains and return back. So it was easier to take a taxi than to use the metro. We have an understanding of how to build routes through complex objects: rivers, mountains and so on. And there are also complicated transportation of passengers in historical cities.
For example, I am from Vladimir, this is my hometown in Russia. And there’s a 500-year-old building on the left, a 600-year-one on the right, and there’s a two-lane road in between. And it’s impossible to expand it because the buildings can’t be moved.
Free space inside the city for cars is limited. We could be located above the city, which would be cheaper and more efficient. Evgeny Petrov: In the end, Maxim Gusev dodged the question. Or, to be precise, he started from afar. Then, Maxim Kubyshkin, the question is yours. Please in general terms describe what is the specifics of working with the regulatory and legislative framework depending on the region. Where have we already had work experience? What issues accumulate, how do we solve them? Maxim Kubyshkin: My personal experience confirms what Maxim and Arsen talked about.
Everything is different now in the current negotiations, however earlier, 2-3 years ago, when talking to a protentional customer, official, business, or technical specialists, who are engaged in the development of the territory, it was still necessary to talk about the advantages of the complex, that is, to engage in educational work, like explaining how everything works, why the spans are exactly like that, what our technology gives in comparison with metro, LRT, monorail and so on. Now, when I start talking about the advantages in comparison with a classic monorail at the first meeting with a client, they say don’t waste your time, we already know everything about your technology, studied everything, saw your uLite, and visited Maryina Gorka. So let’s go straight through here, make a turn here, and then the second station here. The client has already studied our technology, and in fact it is very pleasant.
The client is already cheered up, they have conducted the initial assessment themselves and understand where our advantages are. Accordingly, the effectiveness of our work with the client is much higher. This change has taken place literally in the last two years.
As for the design and compliance with regulations, I talked about this briefly at the previous meeting. We have already gained experience in the CIS markets. The legislation is similar in Belarus, the Russian Federation, and Kazakhstan. All these countries come from the Soviet Union.
We have absolutely no problems here, and all the solutions that we implement in Belarus are also planned to be implemented in the Russian Federation, as they are almost identical. If we are talking about countries with a different history, we have experience working in the United Arab Emirates. We have already implemented several projects there. The first test site has been built and is functioning.
Now it is planned to introduce a fourth one, which is of a cargo and passenger type. We will talk about it in more detail. And there we conduct design works according to the Eurocode, taking into account local peculiarities. We have studied them well, there is nothing unique there.
Evgeny Petrov: Mr. Maxim, tell me, do I understand correctly that the experience that has been accumulated while working in the Sharjah Innovation Park helps us to work on Indian projects? Maxim Kubyshkin: Definitely! There’s accumulated practice, patterns of behavior with the client, principles of working with interested parties. We understand that it is necessary to involve our consulting partners at an early stage, so that the specifics of local legislation and regulations are taken into account when laying some technical solutions. Evgeny Petrov: The regulatory framework is very similar. The Arab Emirates and India have largely inherited the canons of British law. Maxim Kubyshkin: Yes, it is no secret. Both the Arab Emirates and India’s regulatory framework is close to both British and American standards. In my opinion, there are three powerful centers in the world in terms of the normative framework.
This is the region of the former Soviet Union (our Soviet practice), the USA and Europe. And we have experience with all three areas. We have long worked with Eurocodes. We have also studied American standards. And our native ex-Soviet norms are well acquainted. Therefore, we have already accumulated enough experience to implement objects almost worldwide. Evgeny Petrov: Excellent! So, we see that on the one hand there is a technology with lots of advantages that no other solution has. So, for example, Arsen, you were talking about uTrans, listing the many advantages it has.
But you didn’t mention that this is actually one of the most affordable capital-cost solutions, where the cost can start from $1.5 to 2 million per kilometer. And we also win in terms of operating costs. We calculated that the cost of a ton-kilometer was something like 2 rubles. While the usual normal price is 30 rubles per ton-kilometer. In comparison with Russian practice, our indicators are even more than 10 times better, so we have a unique product. But most importantly, the product is proven, implemented, and has confirmation of its effectiveness today.
And we have the necessary experience to distribute the product worldwide. Thank you, Maxim, for noting that we are familiar with both European and American laws and norms of the CIS. Therefore, we will only continue to increase the number of projects. But we will not talk about everything at once. We'll talk about why we decided to do this in the next episode. Its topic sounds like the complexity of implementation and the closeness of information, so we are waiting for you at our next meeting, where we will talk about everything in detail.
Thanks for attention.