Operating costs in the first half of this year increased by 14.8% due to stiff rises in commodity prices, while government financial support declined to Roubles 41.8bn. The bulk of this - Roubles 40bn - was government funding for infrastructure works associated with staging the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

"Despite all the uncertainty regarding the global economy, freight transport by rail is growing, although it has not yet recovered to pre-crisis levels," says RZD president Mr Vladimir Yakunin. "From January to July 2011, the volume of shipments reached 713.7 million tonnes, an increase of 3.7% over the same period of 2010, while tariff tonne-km rose to 1.22 trillion, a rise of 6.6%."

RZD carried 493.3 million passengers during the first half of this year, 3.1% more than in the same period of 2010. First half passenger-km grew by 1.3% to 78.2 billion.