The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is stepping up its support for Serbia’s rail sector by extending a €43 million loan to Serbia Cargo to finance its freight fleet modernization.
The Serbian state-owned rail cargo company will use the funds to replace obsolete rolling stock, buy new locomotives and freight wagons, and overhaul existing wagons. The investment will allow the company to improve the quality and volume of its freight services and encourage the greater use of rail transport over the currently dominant road.
In addition to financing, the EBRD will provide technical assistance to help the company strengthen corporate governance, upskill its workforce and increase rail transport safety.
Matteo Colangeli, EBRD Director for the Western Balkans, said: “The rail sector is a key priority for the EBRD in the Western Balkans as we support countries in the region in upgrading their level of infrastructure and services. This will help to unlock economic opportunities, strengthen regional integration and promote a more sustainable model of transport. Serbia Cargo is a long-standing partner of the Bank and we are pleased to expand our cooperation to this important project, both in terms of modernizing its freight fleet and building skills.”
Dušan Garibović, Acting Director General of Serbia Cargo, said: “We have three reasons to celebrate this new loan agreement with the EBRD. First, this arrangement offers Serbia Cargo an opportunity to keep pace with the significant investment momentum of the Serbian government over the last 10 years which, among other things, puts Serbian railways back on the European railway map. Second, this arrangement makes it possible for our company to significantly increase its rolling stock capacity and maintain its position as a leader in the railway transport of goods in south-eastern Europe. Third, we are delighted that we have achieved a high level of cooperation and understanding with such a renowned financial institution as the EBRD.”
The EBRD has been one of the main financiers of Serbia’s rail sector, with nearly €500 million invested to date and ambitious plans to extend this support in the future. The bank is also supporting rail upgrades in the rest of the Western Balkans region and its total investment will reach €1 billion in 2022.