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Transport Sector Strategy

This document sets out the Strategy which will guide the Bank’s operations in the transport sector. The Strategy will build on the achievements under the previous EBRD Transport Operations Policy and describe how the Bank will respond to the new challenges which have emerged.

Strategy (622KB - PDF)

The Role of Transport

The transport sector is a key enabler of economic growth and transition in the region. By providing the physical networks and services upon which the economy and society depends for the movement of people and goods, transport increases the access of  businesses and consumers to markets and services, promotes economic diversification and regional integration, supporting growth of the wider economy.  From a social perspective, transport supports individual mobility so all people can benefit from access to essential public services such as health and education, and access to labour markets, which can also have important implications for economic inclusion and gender equality.  It is also an enabler of international trade – in the modern global economy no nation is self-sufficient, each relies on goods produced elsewhere – and transport provides the means for emerging markets to integrate into the global economy.  This integration creates opportunities for businesses in the region to expand and develop, thereby supporting job creation.  Alongside facilitating economic development for the region, transport investments also have the potential to generate detrimental environmental and social impacts, including resettlement and livelihood issues, health impacts from congestion and pollution, and loss of biodiversity. The Bank recognises the fundamental role that transport networks and services play in improving the quality of life of the citizens of the region, and increasing the opportunities for commercial development.  At the same time, it recognises the need to develop sustainable of transport systems which align economic growth with regard for the environment and social sustainability.     

Achievements under the Previous Policy 

The Bank has delivered on transition in the transport sector, with the transport portfolio scoring well above the Bank’s average for transition impact. For example, the Bank has supported complex rail reforms in 19 of its Countries of Operation (“COOs”). Whilst challenges remain to achieve financial sustainability, most of these railways have been restructured broadly in line with international practice, with a dynamic private sector developing in a number of markets. In the road sector, the Bank has supported increasing financial sustainability of the sector in at least 21 COOs, as well as helping to improve road maintenance practices and increase private sector participation. This engagement has culminated in the successful promotion of road concessions in Central Europe, Russia and Turkey and strong interest in such public private partnerships (“PPPs”) in other COOs. The Bank’s support for PPPs has also extended to ports and airport sectors, including the first airport PPP in Russia and the first airport PPP in the Western Balkans.

Sustained engagement with governments and state-owned enterprises has been central to achieving this impact in the transport sector, as the Bank has engaged in policy dialogue on key issues to support the transition process across the region. The Bank has also been in dialogue with its clients on important sustainability topics, such as reducing energy consumption and improving environmental management. Policy dialogue has provided a platform to develop Technical Cooperation projects, deepening the Bank’s support for addressing complex issues in the transport sector.

The transport needs of the region have changed dramatically from the previous era, when the countries were largely insulated from the global economy. Since then, new patterns of trade have emerged, and there has been increasing individual mobility as the market economy has developed. The Bank has played an important role in this development, financing key transport corridors across the region, the modernisation of railcar, truck, airline and shipping fleets, and the expansion of capacity at ports and airports. From 2005 to 2012, the Bank signed 116 transactions totalling EUR 6.7 billion in Net Cumulative Business Volume. The volumes effectively doubled in 2009, as the Bank responded swiftly to the impact of the financial crisis and ensuing economic downturn to ensure priority investments remained on track and existing clients had access to long term financing.  Project sizes have ranged from less than EUR 5 million, such as private sector transactions in ports, shipping and aviation, to transactions of EUR 200 million or more, which tend to be capital intensive rail and road projects, including PPPs. This demonstrates the Bank’s flexibility in meeting the diverse needs of the transport market.

Importantly, there has been a substantial shift in the type of transport projects the EBRD finances. The Bank has steadily increased the proportion of private sector operations and loans to state owned entities (“SOE”) structured on a commercial basis.  In 2005, private and non-sovereign projects accounted for just 10 per cent of net cumulative business volume, in 2012 this had increased to 51 per cent.  This reflects the specific risk taking ability of EBRD in an advancing transition process, with the private sector and autonomous SOEs playing an increasing role in the provision and financing of transport infrastructure and services, including new service areas such as intermodal and door-to-door logistics services.    

The transport sector is a focus area for the EBRD’s flagship programme, the Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI), in recognition of the significant contribution of transport activities to global CO2 emissions. Since 2007, the Bank has provided almost EUR 870 million for energy efficiency investments in the transport sector under the SEI programme.  This investment is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 600,000 tonnes per year. The promotion of energy efficient technologies and sustainable transport networks is a key area for further development under this Strategy.

From 2005 to 2012, the Bank has mobilised a total of EUR 14 billion of complementary financing, including IFI co-financing, loan syndication and parallel commercial loans by anchoring PPPs.  IFI loan co-financing accounts for EUR 7.9 billion, with the Bank’s key IFI partners over the period including the European Investment Bank (“EIB”), the Asian Development Bank (“ADB”), the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (“IFC”). In addition, around EUR 400 million has been provided by the European Union. The EBRD works closely with its IFI partners not only on project financing, but also on co-ordinating sector policy dialogue and promoting reform.

Between 2005 and 2012, a total of EUR 30.3 million in grant funding has been secured to support project preparation and implementation, assist in sector reforms, and promote energy efficiency. The EBRD gratefully acknowledges the generous contribution of multilateral and bilateral TC donors in the transport sector.

The Strategy

The Bank’s Vision for the Transport Sector. The Bank’s vision for the region is for the achievement of safe, secure and sustainable transport systems, which embody market principles, balance economic, environmental and social needs and are responsive to the needs of industry and the individual. To achieve this vision, the Bank will finance well-structured public and private sector projects, working with domestic and international companies, offering a diverse range of financial products to meet the financing needs of its clients and the transport projects they sponsor.  Alongside its investments, emphasis will continue to be placed on policy dialogue as a key instrument for the Bank to meet its strategic objectives.  This on-going dialogue provides the forum for the Bank to engage with governments across the region on sector reform, energy efficiency, environmental and social practices, and other policy issues.  The predominant focus of the Bank’s approach will be to build on its transition and sustainability achievements to date, taking a strategic and long term view of the reform process and key policy issues in each transport subsector.  This engagement will be supported by targeted Technical Cooperation projects, providing practical assistance to address key reform issues across the transport sector.

Market Based Transport. The Bank will continue to place transition at the core of its activities in the transport sector. Whilst significant progress has been made, much remains to be done to improve efficiency, market-orientation and financial sustainability; develop the private market for transport services; and increase private sector participation in the provision of transport infrastructure through concessions. The Bank will leverage its substantial and wide-ranging experience to continue assisting the public and private sector in the transition process of the transport sector.  Where transition challenges are limited, the Bank would not consider a sovereign approach.  The Bank will continue to support the trend of the preceding period, placing emphasis on private and public non-sovereign investments, including commercial loans to state-owned enterprises.

Sustainable Transport. The Bank is committed to supporting the development of sustainable transport networks in the region, and is a signatory of the joint IFI statement issued at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012.  Sustainability in the transport sector encompasses a broad range of topics, including environmental, social and economic issues.  Climate change mitigation and adaptation, integrated network development, pollution prevention, air quality and biodiversity protection, economic inclusion and gender equality, and road safety, are important  sustainable transport issues covered by this Strategy.  The Bank will address sustainability at the policy and project level, and ensure a participatory approach to project preparation and implementation.

Broadening the Sector. The Bank will expand the boundaries of its activities in the transport sector, for example seeking opportunities to finance the developing intermodal and logistics sub-sectors across the region.  The need for freight services is growing, and Bank will respond to this demand by financing these emerging sectors, including road freight, and in doing so will aim to  promote sustainable development and reducing CO2 emissions given the potential of logistics operations to lower energy consumption through optimised networks.  It will also respond to market needs in other areas of the sector, such as railway station development and intercity bus and coach services.   

Measuring Success. In line with the challenges identified in the Strategy and the Bank’s proposed response, a series of Strategic Performance Indicators (SPIs) have been devised which will serve as the basis for the Bank to evaluate the transition and sustainability achievements under this Strategy.  These SPIs are defined and explained in Section 4 of the Strategy. 

Last updated 22 October 2013


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