The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced that it will provide financial support, along with the EU, for the rehabilitation of the railway network in Albania.
Albania has signed a $108m contract with Italian company INC Spa for the rehabilitation of Albanian railways.
The railway infrastructure work will receive nearly €36.9m from EBRD and an investment grant of approximately €35.5m from the EU under its Connectivity Agenda for the Western Balkans.
Under the Western Balkans Investment Framework, Albania has secured an additional €2.75m in grants from joint patrons.
As per the contract, restoration work will take place on more than 34km of the current railway track between the port of Durres and the capital Tirana.
A new 5km-long railway line between Tirana city and the Tirana International Airport will also be laid.
After the renovation of the track, trains will be able to provide safer and faster travel in comparison with the present average speed, which is less than 60kmph.
EBRD stated that the project will also help in the development of the country’s rail connectivity, facilitating regional integration.
EBRD Albania head Matteo Colangeli said: “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. As the first investment in the rehabilitation of the railways network in Albania, the project will also contribute to the long-term goal of building green, sustainable and integrated economies in the Western Balkans.”
Albania EU Delegation sustainable economic and social development section head Andrea Vera said: “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.”
As of now, EBRD has invested in 110 projects that are worth over €1.5bn in Albania.
The EU has provided support of €250m in grants to the transport segment in Albania.