EBRD-supported railway projects in North Macedonia are entering a new phase | So Good News


Investment supported with almost €200 million in EBRD loans and €75 million in EU grants

  • Investment supported with EBRD loans of almost €200 million and 75 million euros EU grant

  • Increase investment in railways, as a greener form of transport

  • The EBRD invested more than €900 million in the transport sector in North Macedonia

Residents of North Macedonia will benefit from greener transport and improved regional connectivity thanks to new construction on the eastern part of the railway network, part of the Pan-European Corridor VIII.

An event was held today to mark the start of construction work on a 34 kilometer stretch from Beljakovce to Kriva Palanka and the completion of remaining work on a 31 kilometer stretch from Kumanovo to Beljakovce.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has granted a loan of almost 200 million euros to North Macedonia for these works on the two railway sections.

The railway upgrade also benefits from extensive support from the European Union (EU), which has provided an investment grant of 75 million euros. In addition, bilateral donors to the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) have extended €6 million in technical assistance grants for project preparation and supervision.

Earlier this week, work also started on Albania’s railway network. The reconstructed rail links will eventually connect – via North Macedonia – Albania’s largest port in Durres on the Adriatic Sea with the Black Sea port of Varna in Bulgaria.

Including these investments, the EBRD has committed a total of €940 million to rail projects in the six countries of the Western Balkans to date and plans to invest almost the same amount – a further €840 million – in the medium term.

Andi Aranitasi, EBRD Head of North Macedonia, said: “Improving transport infrastructure and especially railways, a safer and greener mode of transport, will not only improve regional connectivity and open up new economic and trade opportunities, but also play a key role in managing the pressing issue of climate change. To date, the EBRD has allocated more than €350 million to the railway sector in North Macedonia, including €300 million to Corridor VIII, and we are determined to see this strategic project for the country and the region completed”.

David Geer, Head of the EU Delegation to North Macedonia, said: “The start of construction works on the eastern parts of railway corridor VIII is a major step in the expansion and modernization of the railway network in North Macedonia. The project, which is being implemented thanks to the support of Team Europe, will not only improve national connections, but improve connectivity across the region and with the EU. This is a clear example of how we work best when we work together. With more than €688 million allocated to rail projects in Corridor VIII, the economic and investment plan is proving to be a catalyst for development across the region, strengthening cross-border cooperation, facilitating regional trade and bringing major benefits to local residents and businesses, as well like the environment.”

The upgrading works on the section Kumanovo to Beljakovce will be carried out by an Austrian company, Strabag AG. The stretch from Beljakovce to Kriva Palanka will be built by the Turkish company Gülermak.

The 89-kilometer eastern section of Corridor VIII starts at Kumanovo and ends at Dave Bair on the border with Bulgaria, passing through Beljakovce and Kriva Palanka. When the eastern part of Corridor VIII is fully operational, it will improve North Macedonia’s transport system and its sustainability, providing an additional regional route for traffic flows to and from North Macedonia and facilitating further regional integration.

The EBRD has supported North Macedonia in efforts to improve the country’s transport infrastructure, with investments in railways and roads. The bank has provided more than €900 million to date for the construction of road and rail projects in the country.

The EBRD is one of the leading institutional investors in North Macedonia. To date, it has invested almost 2.5 billion euros in 167 projects in various sectors of the economy.


Source link