Macedonian Railways (MZ)Transport will overhaul its rolling stock through a EUR 50 million loan provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), following Monday's signing of the agreement between Vice Premier and Finance Minister Zoran Stavreski and MZ Transport director Oliver Derkoski with EBRD Head of Skopje Office Elena Urumovska.
The EUR 50 million will be used for the procurement of 150 freight cars, 4 diesel-engine passenger car sets, 2 electric-engine passenger car sets and reconstruction of 6 electric locomotives.
Vice Premier Stavreski said the cars' procurement would significantly increase the thriftiness of MZ Transport, since costs for maintenance of the rolling stock would be cut, while the company's competitiveness would increase, thus creating conditions for better services of commodities and passengers.
"This investment represents the start of a mini-investment cycle in the railway sector, which also includes reconstruction of the Corridor 10 railroad and construction of several sections", said Stavreski.
Minister of Transport and Communications Mile Janakieski said the procurement would secure up to 1,800 new seats for passengers that use MZ Transport services.
"The new passenger cars would be manufactured in line with European standards, enabling comfortable transport, fully air-conditioned and with access for handicapped persons", said Janakieski.
A tender is to be scheduled by the end of this or the start of next year, whereas the supplier would be known by mid-2013.
Head of the EBRD Office to Skopje Urumovska emphasized that the railway modernization process supported by the bank would result in changes beneficial for passengers and transporters.
"Besides the procurement of new cars and the reconstruction of the electric locomotives, the loan also provides funds for improvement of the energy efficiency of the workshops and introduction of an energy efficiency system within the company", said Urumovska.