Albania has signed a contract with Italian company INC Spa on the rehabilitation of part of its rail network as a first step in the overhaul of the country’s railways.
The contract covers the rehabilitation of over 34 km of the existing railway track between Albania’s two largest cities, the capital Tirana and the port of Durres, as well as the construction of a new 5-km-long railway between the capital and Tirana International Airport.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a €36.9mn loan to support the real overhaul, while the European Union is issuing an investment grant of up to €35.5mn under its Connectivity Agenda for the Western Balkans, the EBRD sad on February 3. A further €2.75mn in grants from bilateral donors has been secured through the Western Balkans Investment Framework.
Albania’s railways are in urgent need of investment, and currently trains travel at 60km per hour or less. The works will make travel by train safer and faster, as well as improving connectivity within the country and regional integration.
“This strategic infrastructure project will make a tangible difference to people and businesses in Albania and across the region. It will improve people’s daily lives and unlock new trade opportunities,” said Matteo Colangeli, EBRD head of Albania.
“As the first investment in the rehabilitation of the railway network in Albania, the project will also contribute to the long-term goal of building green, sustainable and integrated economies in the Western Balkans.
“Investing in infrastructure is necessary to improve connectivity within the Western Balkans and with the EU. Albania needs to undertake the necessary reforms to ensure the integration of transport markets,” commented Andrea Vera, head of the Sustainable Economic and Social Development Section at the EU Delegation in Albania.
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