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RVR is ready for joining ЕU

  11.09.2003    

Lazar Raizberg, director general and co-owner of the factory
Already two years have passed since Riga Carriage Building Factory was brought to life from the ashes of post-Soviet non-existence. Having become a private enterprise, the factory confidently returned to local and Eastern markets and is going to conquer Western ones. The main thing now is not to be at a loss but to make use of the shaped historical situation.



– Could you tell us in a couple of words what was happening with the famous «Carbuilder» during last hundred years and how things are going now?

– Good question but it cannot answered briefly, especially for a century. In fact, this year RVR enterprise already celebrates its 108th anniversary. And actually during the whole of its history, RVR has been the biggest carriage-making factory in the Baltic and European countries. It produced freight carriages and refrigerating installations early in the last century, made FORD motor cars in the 30's. In Soviet times the factory manufactured more than 20 000 electric trains and about 2 000 diesel trains. Few makers could boast of such production output. After the break-up of the Soviet Union the factory practically stopped. In January, 2001 JSC Rigas Vagonbuves Rupnica got new owners and stepped into a quite new market and new life. We started carefully, but consistently. The idle time period has had its adverse effect. We had not only to restore the production but also get back old specialists and train new ones. We began from the very beginning, repair and modernization, and then step by step returned also to the production of new trains.

– Is it a big production today?

– Yes, by our country's standards. More than 400 people are employed. In the first year of operation the annual turnover was USD 4.5 mln, in the second year it amounted to USD 9.3 mln while in the current year we are projecting to reach USD 16 mln. According to Lursoft, we enter the top 20 enterprises of the country in terms of production output.

– Your scope of action?

Today we render the whole range of services associated with the rolling stock of suburban electric and diesel trains : we carry out repair, reconstruction, manufacture of new and modernized carriages. We also modernize and restore public transport. Having realized several projects for modernization of universal platforms for carriage of multi-tonnage containers and timber, we are now trading in these products rather successfully. Our buyer is a Finnnish company dealing with timber transportation while great interest is also being shown by local carriers, as well. We are actively working over a new project of a low-floor tram for Riga and Moscow.

– Why have «Suomi» chosen your platforms?
– It's a matter of economics. Here the product is cheaper while keeping with European quality standards.

– You mentioned trams?

– Within 2 years of operation we have reconstructed 191 carriages Tatra T3, or practically the whole tram fleet of Riga. Experience thus acquired is employed now in Moscow. We made a contract with the Moscow Industry Investment Agency on reconstruction of 23 Moscow trams Tatra Т3. Five carriages have been already reconstructed while the others are in the work process. The whole volume of the order is 185 carriages.

– A new low-floor tram development project was much discussed publicly ?!

– On the whole, the idea to create a new low-floor tram for the needs of Riga was approved and confirmed on all levels in Riga Dome (City Council) in last year's spring. Currently, the stages of market investigation, business plan development and defense are already over, and the primary task now is development of the low-floor tram pilot specimen. Riga Tram and Trolley-bus Administration (TTU) participates in the quality of a co-founder in this project where RVR is the project locomotive while TTU represents the customer.


– But what is, properly speaking, the advantage of the low-floor tram?

– Due to easier passenger getting in/out, the average route speed increases considerably : more than by 1.5 times. It means electric power saving when going from D.C. motor to A.C. motor, up-to-date diagnostics system, smooth run, micro climate, attractive and elegant design, ergonomic seats. Besides, the new tram will become a real decoration and visiting card of the city, adding it modern appearance.


– When is the first specimen expected?

– After year-and-a-half. World practice evidences such production would take not less than 18 months.


– Wouldn't it be cheaper to buy such a tram?

– Our business plan included various versions of comparisons between prices, complete sets and services. On average over Europe, one tram carriage may cost about EUR 2 mln to 2.5 mln. Add here the cost of spare parts, construction of carriage shed, infrastructure. According to the estimated cost, our tram will require EUR 1.2 mln - 1.5 mln depending on the assembly. Demand for the low-floor models is rather high and do not require the reconstruction of general communication system in our towns and cities. Our advantages are apparent: reasonable price in combination with best adaptation to urban road conditions.


– Who are the current customers of RVR?

– Railways of Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus, Georgia; Moscow Administration; as well as various Russian and local carriers among whom the major one being Latvijas Dzelzcels (Latvian Railway). We work in collaboration with the Finns on the project of a new freight rolling stock.


– Are you oriented towards the West?

– We are in very active negotiations with the West. Numerous various delegations visit us from very serious world companies, and joint projects are being developed. We draw the interest of Western partners for many reasons and are well aware of our current advantages, especially in the period when Latvia joins EU. In our turn, we are interested in all projects associated with development of the enterprise, personnel training, latest technologies and investments into production. Our enterprise is operating in accordance with ISO 9001:2000 international standard differing from other ISO developments by the revised and improved product quality control and higher attention to customer demands. That is why our products now are already in full compliance with international standards and are undoubtedly competitive in the market.


– Thank you for the conversation and wish you great success and many victories to your enterprise.

– Thank you.
























































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