The renewal of Serbia’s state railways will take a further step forward thanks to a €22 million loan package provided by the EBRD. The funds will finance infrastructure upgrades as well as the introduction of a new ticketing system and measures for energy efficiency.
The amount of €17 million will be invested in the expansion and upgrade of a railway depot in Zemun, according to the agreement signed in Belgrade today by Serbia’s Finance Minister Siniša Mali and Acting General Director of JSC Srbija Voz Jugoslav Jović as well as by EBRD Director for Transport, Sue Barrett. The investment will transform the depot into the central maintenance site for the fleet of the state railway company Srbija Voz, the sole passenger service operator in the country.
The rail garage on the outskirts of Belgrade will become the home base for the maintenance of new trains that use the latest available technology. These so-called electric multiple units are self-propelled carriages, powered by electricity. The Serbian railways acquired these new units in Switzerland in 2015 thanks to an EBRD loan. A first loan for the development of the Zemun depot, provided by the EBRD, was signed last December.
A second portion of €5 million will finance the acquisition of information technology systems to modernise enterprise resource planning, ticket sales and energy management. The current systems involve a high degree of manual and paper-based operations. However, the new technology will enable more efficient and accurate data storage, improving productivity and cost savings as well as making Srbija Voz more energy efficient.
One of the changes most visible for customers will be the introduction of self-service ticket vending machines and sales via the internet and mobile phones. This modernisation will allow the company to improve fare collection and to obtain accurate passenger numbers, enabling it to boost service levels and introduce more attractive offers for passengers.
Meanwhile, the installation of a new energy management information system will enable Srbija Voz to reduce energy consumption. The system will track the energy consumption of the company’s operating systems and fleet and register any unexpected or excessive energy use, allowing it to take action to decrease energy consumption where possible.
In Serbia the EBRD is a leading investor, with more than €4.8 billion in 222 investment projects to date. Supporting the country’s preparations for its planned accession to the European Union is one of the Bank’s priorities. With the investments in Srbija Voz the Bank is supporting the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as well as stronger regional integration through better connectivity.
SUBMITTED BY By Axel Reiserer