The construction of a second railway track on Koper-Divača line is top of the list of the EUR 4 billion worth of projects submitted by Slovenia for receiving EU co-financing in 2014-2020 financial period, along with other railway rehabilitation projects, motorway projects, and construction of hydro plants.
The 26.4 km railway line from Divača to Koper is a part of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T), and serves as an axis for lines from Lyon to Trieste, Ljubljana, Budapest and onto the Ukrainian border. However, the due to the traffic increase to the Port of Koper, the construction of a second railway track is necessary.
According to a study undertaken by Ljubljanski Inštitut za Finance in Ekonomijo d.o.o. – L.I.F.E. institute, in a realistic scenario, cargo throughput at the port will grow, on average, by four percent annually, and would reach 30 million tonnes per year by 2030, while at the same time rail freight would double to 20 million tonnes. Most evident will be the rise in container freight, which is anticipated to account for 53 percent in the total cargo throughput by 2030. Without the construction of a new track, any additional trade flows would necessarily be redirected onto the road network; the negative external impacts (air emissions, noise, accidents, traffic jams, degradation of roads etc.) are five-fold those of rail freight. Cost implications could be as much as EUR 1.3 billion.
According to the author of the study, the anticipated throughput dynamics will result in the congestion of the single-track of Koper – Divača branch line by 2018. In the event that this line is not doubled, all excess freight will be diverted onto either Slovene roads or Italian railways.
“We are seriously counting on the investment in the second rail [between Divača and Koper], the project is also advanced enough to be implemented quickly,” said Infrastructure Minister Peter Gašperšič. The ministry expects to obtain the building permit at the end next year, with construction works potentially starting in 2016, informs Slovenian Times.
At first the ministry will try to secure financing for Koper-Divača with domestic partners, in particular rail operator Slovenske železnice and port operator Luka Koper. If that fails, a call for bids will be announced for foreign investors, according to the minister.