Rail Baltica project to boost Baltic economies
When speaking at the forum "Rail Baltica – Building a New Economic Corridor" the Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications Rokas Masiulis emphasised Lithuania’s determination to be actively involved in the building of a new European gauge railway, says press center of the Ministry.
“We are the leaders in the implementation of this project. We have already built the European gauge line to Kaunas. Lithuania will continue contribute to this project to ensure that it is implemented in time and in a quality manner. The Rail Baltica project involves not only a railway line equipped with stations and terminals – it is also the project of European integration. The railway will provide many opportunities for businesses and people in the whole region. The potential may even surpass our expectations. So, we must seek new business opportunities and new cargo streams already now. I am convinced that this project will have a significant impact on boosting the economic growth of the entire Baltic region,” - said Minister Masiulis.
The building of a new railway will result in the creation of a quality economic corridor which will increase the mobility of passengers and cargo, according to the new cost-benefit analysis of the Rail Baltica project. The findings of this analysis were presented today by the representatives of the joint venture RB Rail AS.
The anticipated socio-economic benefit of the project has been calculated – it averages€16.2 billion euros (not discounted) and significantly exceeds the total amount of required national investments for the project’s implementation.
The total amount of investments of the three Baltic countries in the project is put at about €5.8 billion (Estonia – €1.4 billion (the state’s share about €268 million); Latvia – €2 billion (the state’s share about €393 million); Lithuania – €2.5 billion (the state’s share about €493 million).
To ensure that the Baltic countries have an effectively operating 1435 mm gauge railway the important role in the implementation of the project is played by Poland and Finland as well.
AB Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) cooperates with Polish railway and logistics companies to attract more cargo and make use of the advantages of one-stop-shop services of the North Sea-Baltic Sea Rail Freight Corridor. Minister Masiulis invited Latvia and Estonia to become part of the structure of this rail freight corridor.
At the forum, the partner countries of the Rail Baltica project – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – reiterated their long-term obligations. The planned public procurements related to the implementation of the project were presented to the representative of the railway industry.
The trilateral meeting of Lithuania, Latvian and Estonian transport ministers discussed the progress of works performed by each country as part of the implementation of the Rail Baltica project. It was noted that Lithuania had already started the procedure of land expropriation on grounds of public interest in the section Kaunas–Lithuanian-Latvian border and was preparing for building the 1435 mm gauge railway around Kaunas. The railway will be connected with the intermodal terminal in Palemonas.
On 31 January 2017 in Tallinn, the prime ministers of the three Baltic countries signed an agreement on the construction schedule of Rail Baltica as well as gauge and other parameters. They agreed to outline general technical parameters, routes, the deadlines of the project’s implementation, construction conditions and a contractor, and the role of RB Rail AS in ensuring preliminary conditions and building the railway as well as the funding of the railway’s construction. The agreement provides for the implementation of the Rail Baltica project by 2025 and the launch of the railway’s operation in 2026.
In 2011, Rail Baltica was named the project of state significance in Lithuania.