The investment will finance the rehabilitation of key sections of Corridor X, the main north-south route running through Serbia, which is also the country’s key regional link with its neighbours.
As the most important component of the railway network in Serbia, Corridor X handles over 50 per cent of all rail traffic. However, much of it is in a poor state, resulting in speed restrictions, or is in need of modernisation to meet anticipated traffic flows. More than 50 per cent of the network operates at speeds of less than 60 km/hour.
The EBRD loan will help Serbian Railways to address these limitations by financing the modernisation of a 14km section of Corridor X from Belgrade Central Station through Rakovica to Resnik, as well as the renewal of approximately 50km of track along key sections of this Corridor. The project will enhance the speed and reliability of passenger and freight rail services in Serbia.
The EBRD is supporting the ongoing reform of Serbian Railways, particularly the creation of separate passenger, freight and infrastructure companies, and the opening of the rail freight market to private operators. The objective of these reforms is to increase efficiency, and the quality of rail services offered to the market.
The EBRD investment is complemented by over €1.5 million in technical assistance grants to support further restructuring and commercialisation of Serbian Railways, as well as for the project’s implementation and monitoring. The funding is provided by the Central European Initiative, Western Balkans Investment Framework, and the Bank’s Shareholder Special Fund.
“The EBRD is a long-term partner of Serbian Railways and today we are signing our fifth investment project aimed at modernising rail infrastructure in Serbia and promoting further reform in the sector. This new project will improve the quality of rail services in the country and will further support transformation of Serbian Railways into a modern, commercially viable holding company,” said Thomas Maier, EBRD Managing Director for Transport and Infrastructure.
“We are delighted to continue our cooperation with the EBRD. The new financing will help us to further improve the railways infrastructure by removing existing bottlenecks in the Belgrade railway network and modernising the railways on the southern branch of Corridor X. The EBRD’s new investment will help to improve the quality, safety and speed of railways services in Serbia, bringing them closer to international standards", added Milovan Markovic, General Manager of Serbian Railways.
Previously the EBRD provided €317 million to Serbian Railways for the modernisation of its rolling stock fleet and infrastructure, as well as to underpin the company’s restructuring.
Overall since the beginning of its operations in Serbia, the EBRD has committed around €2.9 billion in various sectors of the country’s economy, with a total value of some €6 billion.