Integral part of locomotive purchase will be localization of production – Infrastructure Ministry
A short interview of Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kava with Interfax-Ukraine
Oleksandr Kava, is it planned to purchase new locomotives for the railways of Ukraine to replace old ones?
Yes, we have initiated talks with European financial institutions. In particular, these are negotiations with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on the renewal of Ukrainian locomotives.
We collectively determined, for example, that if Ukrzaliznytsia acquires 100 modern dual-system freight locomotives, this will allow us to take 200 old locomotives out of service and significantly improve the efficiency of goods transportation.
What will be the effect, in addition to a quantitative indicator?
We will see an effect by increasing the weight of trains, as modern electric locomotives are much more powerful than those used today. Accordingly, when running on complex sections, which require the use of an additional locomotive, modern, more powerful locomotives can pass on their own. This will also allow us to withdraw some of the locomotives capable of only operating on DC or AC and reduce the time it takes to replace the locomotive due to the fact that these will be dual-current electric freight locomotives. For instance, trains with iron ore in Kryvy Rih can be directly formed for the ports of Velyka Odesa without changing the locomotive at Tymkove station. Accordingly, the average daily mileage of locomotives will significantly increase.
In addition, the maximum power of Ukrzaliznytsia electric locomotives has reached 6,560 kW and modern locomotives - up to 9,600 kW. In general, we will see quite a good effect from implementation.
How much time does procurement require?
Of course, we realize that such issues cannot be solved quickly. Even the experience of other countries shows that at least two years pass from the moment of signing the agreement to the delivery of the first locomotive. For example, Finnish Railways signed an agreement with Siemens in December 2013 for the supply of 80 Vectron Sr3 freight and passenger locomotives, and the first prototype will only appear in Finland in spring 2015. It will pass tests during about one year and only then will commercial operation start. Therefore, we will run the process but realize it will not be quick.
What will be the mechanism to finance the purchase of locomotives?
We are now working on funding options. We are likely to raise funds.
Who will be the borrower of these funds?
One of the options is that the railway will directly attract funds, but financial aspects are to be improved. However, such projects are not projects for one year and the use of funds will not occur simultaneously, there will be some payment and then further payments should be made.
I think that the financial state of Ukrzaliznytsia by that time will stabilize and the railway will be able to afford it.
What is the estimated cost of the locomotives?
It is planned to purchase about 100 electric locomotives under this project. For example, Azerbaijan Railways bought 50 Alstom Prima II KZ8A freight electric locomotives and the cost of this agreement amounted to EUR300 million, i.e. EUR6 million per 16-wheel locomotive.
Everything will depend on technical parameters. Ukrzaliznytsia is now defining such locomotive parameters, therefore it is impossible to voice the approximate sum.