21 August 2012

Macedonia gets €46.4 million for construction of railway line to Bulgaria

Macedonia officially gets €46.4 million loan from European Bank for Development and Reconstruction for start of construction of Kumanovo – Beljakovce railway section that will connect us with Bulgaria.
Deputy PM and Finance Minister Zoran Stavreski and the EBRD’s Director for Transport, Sue Barrett signed Tuesday loan agreement.
Stavreski said that the conditions under which EBRD grants the loan to Macedonia are significantly favourable with 15 year repayment period, 4 year grace period and interest rate which currently amounts 1.7%.

Railway to Bulgaria - A dead end.
The project foresees modernisation of this link - Section 1 of Macedonia Railway Corridor VIII - Eastern Section, Kumanovo – Beljakovce at length of 30.8 kilometres. The construction of section is to start in the first quarter of 2013 while field works are to be completed in three to four years. The tender for construction is to be announced next month.
This corridor will develop a transportation system that will contribute to increasing trade between Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria. It will improve both access and connection with neighbouring countries and thus increase the competitiveness and development of the economy, as well as communication with European countries, said Stavreski.

The EBRD’s Director for Transport, Sue Barrett, said, "Once the entire Corridor VIII is operational, it will give Macedonia a shorter route to Black Sea ports. It is also expected to stimulate the regional economy by making transportation flows easier."
The project is supported by a substantial grant funding totalling €4 million provided by the EU’s Western Balkans Investment Framework for project design, tender preparation and implementation assistance. Introduction of an energy management system will also be supported by a €175,000 grant from the Central European Initiative.

The project is also expected to stimulate reform in further areas such as track access charges being in line with EU rail sector guidelines and the commercialisation of non-core assets across the company. The project also envisages an energy efficiency programme to improve the energy performance of the company.
To date the EBRD has invested over €1 billion in about 80 projects in Macedonia.

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