• The upgrade is part of network and services modernisation by Srbija Voz, with EBRD as a key partner
• EBRD support stimulates a broad shift from road to rail through modernisation of Serbian railway
• Over €1bn of EBRD investments in sustainable infrastructure in Serbia to date
Serbian rail travel is set to become safer and more comfortable when the state railway company Srbija Voz uses a €100 million EBRD loan to buy up to 18 new trains.
Srbija Voz will buy new four-car coaches, which will provide comfortable and reliable regional passenger services on the electrified sections of the rail network.
These are expected to encourage more new passengers to shift their travel habits from the road to rail services, leading to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Serbia’s rail infrastructure has suffered from severe under-investment since the early 1990s. As a result, the preferred transport option is road-based, with only five per cent of passengers using rail.
In the early 2000s, Srbija Voz launched a major overhaul of its network and services, with the EBRD being one of the key partners in this process.
The EBRD has already supported Serbian railway to buy new passenger coaches and freight wagons which now connect some of the country’s biggest cities. As well as investing in the new fleet, the EBRD has also supported Srbija Voz in expanding and upgrading a railway depot in Zemun, as well as supporting the company to improve its IT systems, energy management and ticket sales.
In parallel, the EBRD team supports the company to improve its management and corporate governance, which should lead to increased efficiency and overall modernisation of the state company.
Susan Goeransson, Director, Head of Infrastructure, Europe at EBRD, said: “We are pleased to be one of the key partners of Srbija Voz in this great revitalisation process leading to more comfortable and safer travel for travellers in Serbia. Besides support for the Serbian railway, we have also supported the Serbian government in other landmark transport and infrastructure projects and we continue so.”
Jugoslav Jović, Acting General Manager of Srbija Voz, added: “Thanks to excellent assistance and cooperation we have had with the EBRD, and with the support of the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Finance and the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Srbija Voz will implement another project to be financed by the EBRD, and that is the acquisition of new electro-motor units for regional traffic. This project will improve the organization, quality and cost-effectiveness of passenger transport services in regional rail transport, and will enable safer and more comfortable rail transport for passengers.”
So far the EBRD has extended over €1 billion to Serbia for investments in sustainable infrastructure. The EBRD is leading green transition financing in Serbia with investments in key transport and urban infrastructure, renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
The EBRD encourages using experience and efficiency of the private sector to respond to pressing infrastructure challenges in the Western Balkans. From airports, including a recent project with Vinci and the Belgrade Airport, to environmental infrastructure, including Vinča landfill with world leaders in waste management sector Suez, Itochu and the EIB supported Marguerite Fund, the EBRD has supported private sector investors to boost infrastructure development.
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Serbia. The Bank has invested more than €5 billion across 250 projects in the country to date. The EBRD is supporting private-sector development and the transition towards a green economy, as well as investing in infrastructure to boost connectivity in the Western Balkans region.