EIB Investing €76m in Montenegro’s Rail Future

EIB Investing €76m in Montenegro’s Rail Future

EIB Investing €76m in Montenegro’s Rail Future

In a landmark move for Montenegro’s transportation sector, the European Investment Bank (EIB) Global, under the auspices of the Team Europe initiative, has committed to a significant investment in the country’s railway infrastructure. The newly signed financial agreement, valued at €75.5 million, aims to revitalise the 167 km railway line stretching from Bar to Podgorica and Vrbnica.

This project, encompassing a €40 million loan and €35.5 million in EU grants and technical support, is poised to transform Montenegro’s rail transport, enhancing efficiency, safety, and capacity.

The investment underscores a critical shift towards greener, more sustainable transport in Montenegro. By improving the railway line, the project will not only enhance the service for over a million passengers annually but also bolster international freight traffic.

This shift from road to rail is a pivotal component of Montenegro’s environmental strategy, aiming to reduce carbon emissions and support broader climate goals.

EIB Investing €76m in Montenegro's Rail Future

The Bigger Picture: EIB’s Role in the Western Balkans

As the largest financier of railway modernisation in the Western Balkans, EIB Global’s involvement is far from new. With €1.9 billion already invested in the region’s rail sector, this latest project builds on previous efforts, including the significant upgrades between Bar and Vrbnica.

EIB Vice-President Kyriacos Kakouris highlighted the broader vision: “The upgrade and extension of rail transport infrastructure is a priority both for the European Union and the Government of Montenegro, as it is crucial for regional integration in the Western Balkans.”

Key Elements of the Project

The project’s scope is comprehensive, focusing on several critical areas:

  • Rail Section Rehabilitation: Over 20 km of single-track rail between Lutovo and Bioče will be rehabilitated.
  • Infrastructure Upgrades: 13 steel bridges and eight tunnels, spanning 2.6 km in total, will be rebuilt.
  • Modernisation of Facilities: Rolling stock workshops and depots in Podgorica, Bar, and Nikšić will be modernised to meet contemporary standards.

Minister of Finance of Montenegro Novica Vuković emphasised the project’s importance, noting that this initiative is part of a broader strategy to enhance the nation’s infrastructure and accelerate economic growth.

EIB Investing €76m in Montenegro's Rail Future

EU’s Strong Commitment to Montenegro

EU Ambassador to Montenegro Oana Cristina Popa stressed that the EU’s support goes beyond infrastructure. “Today’s event is a perfect occasion to recall that Montenegro’s EU integration is much more than a process of closing chapters or approximating laws. Fundamentally, it is about advancing people’s rights and freedoms, and enabling them to lead healthy, safe and fulfilling lives.”

The EIB Global delegation’s visit to Podgorica included discussions with key Montenegrin officials, exploring further opportunities to expand technical advisory support and identify new sectors for investment. These conversations are part of a long-standing cooperation, which has seen over €1.1 billion invested in Montenegro across 29 projects to date.

A Collaborative Effort

This project is not a solitary endeavour but part of a collaborative framework involving various stakeholders:

  • Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF): This body will channel the EU grants, ensuring a coordinated approach to investment and technical support.
  • Montenegro’s Government: Contributing €4.5 million from its own resources, the government is an active participant in driving the project forward.

Minister of Transport and Maritime Affairs of Montenegro Filip Radulović praised the partnership, highlighting that the Ministry is a major beneficiary of EU grants through the WBIF.

EIB Investing €76m in Montenegro's Rail Future

The Path Ahead

Looking ahead, the EIB has ambitious plans for Montenegro’s railway sector, with new investments already in the pipeline, such as the reconstruction of the Bar–Golubovci section on Rail Route 4.

These future projects will continue to build on the solid foundation laid by the current initiative, ensuring Montenegro’s rail system meets European standards and supports the country’s broader economic and environmental goals.

Enhancing Connectivity within Montenegro

This €75.5 million investment in Montenegro’s rail infrastructure is a testament to the power of international cooperation and the strategic importance of sustainable transport.

By modernising the Bar–Podgorica–Vrbnica railway line, EIB Global and its partners are not just enhancing connectivity within Montenegro, but also fostering greater regional integration and environmental sustainability in the Western Balkans.

Post source : EIB

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Anthony has worked in the construction industry for many years and looks forward to bringing you news and stories on the highways industry from all over the world.

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