Skope, 1st October 2012 (MIA) – Macedonian Railways Transport a.d. Skopje to renew the railroad fleet with EUR 50 million loan from EBRD, in order to provide more efficient and more cost-effective transport of goods and passengers. Loan Agreement and Guarantee Agreement were signed today by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, and Director of MR Transport a.d. Skopje, Oliver Derkoski, on behalf of the Government, and Head of EBRD Resident Office in Macedonia, Elena Urumovska.
EUR 50 million will be used for procurement of 150 wagons, 4 new three-car diesel passenger multiple units, 2 new three-car electric passenger multiple units and rehabilitation of 5-6 electric locomotives. Repayment period is 15 years, including 3-year and 6-month grace period. Interest rate is variable, comprising six-month EURIBOR, being 0.44% at the moment, plus 1% margin per annum.
According to Vice Prime Minister Stavreski, procurement of wagons would significantly increase cost-effectiveness of MR Transport, since maintenance costs for the railroad fleet would be reduced. Competitiveness of the enterprise would be improved, and conditions for better quality services for transportation of goods and passengers would be created.
– New investment in MR Transport is a beginning of a mini investment cycle in the railways sector, Stavreski underlined. Activities are commencing, he pointed out, to overhaul Corridor 10 railway, long 54 km, for which EUR 17 million is provided. First stage of the construction of the section from Kumanovo to Beljakovce, for which EUR 46 million is provided from EBRD, will commence in the first quarter next year. At the moment, EUR 2.7 million is invested in the second section from Beljakovce to Kriva Palanka for preparation of the basic projects, and additional EUR 2 million will be provided by the end of this year for the purpose of project design. Preparations for project design for the railroad from Kicevo to Ohrid and the border with Albania are commenced as well.
Minister of Transport and Communications, Mile Janakievski, announce that the procurement of wagons would provide for 1,200 to 1,800 new seats for passengers using the services offered by MR Transport a.d. Skopje. We expect for the quality of services to be fully improved with the activities to be undertaken and to provide a modern railroad transportation, Janakievski underlined.
New passenger wagons and units will be produced in line with all European standards and are to provide for a comfortable transportation of users of services, they will be fully air-conditioned and with an access for disabled persons, Minister of Transport and Communications explained, reiterating that the last wagons and locomotives in MR were purchased in 1978.
According to the Director of MR Transport a.d. Skopje, Derkovski, crisis, that also hit the enterprise, could be overcome only by investments, being supported by both the Government and the EBRD. Renewal of the railroad fleet in MR Transport will significantly improve effectiveness and efficiency of the transport, Derkoski stressed.
As regards the pace of realization of the project, it is envisaged to announce procurement procedure at the end of this or the beginning of the next year, and the supplier of the new railroad fleet of MR Transport to be selected in the middle of the next year.
Head of EBRD Resident Office in Skopje pointed out that modernization of the railway, support by EBRD, would lead to complete changes to be of benefit to both the passengers and the carriers in the freight traffic. Since the beginning of the 90’s until now, small investments were made in the services of MR, and the average years of use of the existing railroad fleet is between 30 and 45 years. In addition to procurement of new wagons and trains and overhaul of the electric locomotives, according to Urumovska, funds are also provided, under the Loan, for improvement of energy efficiency of the maintenance workshops of MR Transport and introduction of energy efficiency management system across the enterprise.