WB to review project on Azerbaijan's railway transit and trade

Azerbaijan, Baku, March 13 / Trend N. Ismayilova /

World Bank's mission headed by a Senior Transport Specialist and Project Team Leader Gerald Olivier will visit Baku to review the project to support Azerbaijan's railway transit and trade from March 16-20, the WB Baku office said.

The main purpose of the mission is to implement the preparatory work for the project, the representation said. A loan agreement between the government and the World Bank was signed in December 2009.

The total cost of project to support railway transit and trade was $673.8 million. About $450 million falls on WB loan. The project is a part of the state program to improve the railway infrastructure of Azerbaijan (2008-2013) worth 1.2 billion manat.

WB credit resources are allocated through the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) for a term to 23 years with a grace period of eight years, at a rate of six-month libor plus changing spread. The money to be paid by the borrower, was fixed at the level of 0.25 percent. Payments on the loan will be paid twice a year -  June 15 and December 15.

The railway line on the section of the Baku-Boyuk-Kesik (the border with Georgia)is planned to be reconstructed as a part of the loan.

In general, repair of 503 kilometer-railway is planned to be made within the project. Investments will be spent to the shift from direct current to alternating in the direction of Baku-Boyuk-Kesik, purchase of 50 new locomotives to operate on alternating current. The project envisages the increase of the speed on the railway tracks for passengers up to 100 kilometers per hour, cargo transportation - 80 kilometers per hour.

The project consists of three components. It envisages improving of services at the railway, ensuring competitiveness, operational and economic efficiency, increase of financial opportunities of the CJSC and railway in the east-west direction.

The first component involves the rehabilitation of the railway sector, namely the railway sector from Baku to the Georgian border, the transition from 3,3 kV DC to 25 kV AC, replacing the signal system in the transition to a system of power.

The second component provides for purchase of electric locomotives, the third one - the modernization and bringing JSC Azerbaijan Railways' activity to the requirements of market economy.

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