The Croatian government has approved the loan agreements between the companies within the national rail operator Hrvatske Zeljeznice (HZ) and the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
The government approved a EUR 79 million loan for HZ Infrastruktura, a EUR 41.5 million loan for HZ Cargo and a EUR 43 million loan for HZ Putnicki Prijevoz (Passenger Transport). The loans will be used for restructuring, optimising the number of employees and increasing the effectiveness of operations of the three companies.
The Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Sinisa Hajdas Doncic, said that the loans would be granted at an interest rate of less than one per cent and with a grace period of three years. He said that 40 per cent of the total amount of the loans would be used for the retroactive financing of loans with an average interest rate exceeding 5%.
As a result, in the case of HZ Infrastruktura the amount saved will be HRK 68 million, in the case of HZ Cargo that amount will be HRK 74 million and in the case of HZ Putnicki Prijevoz HRK 68 million will be saved, the minister said.
The loans will be used for financing the “Sustainable Croatian Railways in Europe” project (SUCRE). Hajdas Doncic said that as part of this project money would be secured for 50 level crossings.
The SUCRE project contributes to the Transport Development Strategy of Croatia for 2014- 2030 and is consistent with European Union priorities for transport. The project has four components:
1: Support to sector restructuring and coordination;
2: Support to HZ Passenger Transport Restructuring;
3: Support to HZ Cargo restructuring;
4: Support to HZ Infrastructure Restructuring and Enabling investment to increase the system efficiency.
According to the document “Resettlement Policy Framework for Sustainable Croatian Railways in Europe Project” prepared by HZ Infrastruktura, among planned infrastructure investments are:
– Cuts and slope reinforcement on the corridor Vb around Rijeka
– Emergency bridges reconstruction on corridor Vb (due to their deteriorated condition, these bridges represent a safety threat);
– Rehabilitation of railway tracks and electrical systems along international corridors;
– Signaling upgrade between Moravice and Rijeka;
– Priority railway safety crossings installation;
– Rehabilitation of the Varazdin-Cakovec line;
– Replacement of switches, electrical, and support systems (for safety and signaling) on international and national corridors; and o Construction/improvement at stations and stops.