Baltic, Construction, EU – Baltic States, Railways, Transport

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 21.08.2019, 11:14

Rail Baltica Global Project meets key milestones in 2018

BC, Tallinn, 23.01.2019.Print version
In 2018 Rail Baltica Global Project reached several key milestones at strategic, technical and financial level remaining on track to launch operations by 2026, the RB Rail AS representative informed BC.

Strategic milestones

The European Commission adopted the Implementing Decision of the cross-border Rail Baltica project for the North-Sea Baltic TEN-T Corridor in October 2018, reinforcing the commitment of the European Commission and all EU Member States to implement the project on time. Furthermore, deeper cooperation with Finland and Poland was achieved. Namely, transport ministries of the Baltic states invited Finland to join the Rail Baltica joint venture RB Rail AS as a shareholder, while Poland announced the analysis and plans to potentially increase the speed on the railway infrastructure from Lithuanian-Polish border to town of Elk to match the Rail Baltica Global Project technical parameters. Finally, Rail Baltica Global Project was included in the EU Military mobility policy. 

Several important studies relating to the future operations were developed during 2018 such as the Rail Baltica Operational Plan, Rail Baltica Infrastructure Management Model Study and Rail Baltica Business Plan. The Operational Plan provides optimal infrastructure planning and realisation for Rail Baltica international passenger and cargo services as seen from the sustainable long-term perspective and covering the period by 2056. In addition, it outlines initial passenger demand assessment in each country for regional traffic providing the Baltic governments with a comprehensive regional development tool. Furthermore, the Infrastructure Management Study, carried out by a leading international consultancy Atkins, provides an independent and fact-based assessment of the most cost-effective model of Rail Baltica infrastructure management.

Technical milestones

In 2018 the Common Design Guidelines of Rail Baltica Global Project were approved, setting the standard of technical parameters for the railway line to ensure technical interoperability in all three countries and with European railway network. In addition, procurements of the detailed technical designs for the main line were launched for 7 out of 11 sections covering 57% of the entire railway line in the Baltic states.

For Estonia, the detailed technical design procurements are underway for the entire line from Latvia/Estonia state border to Tallinn. In Latvia, 2 out of 4 designs have been launched for approximately 120 km section around Riga. In Lithuania 2 sections out of 4 are being procured for the length of 120 km section, spanning from Kaunas to Lithuanian/Latvian state border. We are happy to see a strong interest of experienced European and Baltic companies participating in the procurement of the detailed technical designs – 53 bids were received all together.

Throughout 2018 6 Rail Baltica reference groups were created covering topics of technical, operational, business, financial and communication matters. This process allows ensuring exchange of knowledge and closer alignment between involved parties within the project.

Financial milestones

The Rail Baltica Global Project secured the third Connected Europe Facility (CEF) grant. As a result, Global Project available funding until 2023 reached 824 million EUR, out of which up to 85% come from the European Union and 15% are co-funded by the national governments. 

RB Rail AS announced 31 procurements in 2018 with the total indicative value of over 43 mln EUR. In 2018, 26 contracts were signed with the total value of 1.83 mln EUR. From these 53% of the contracts’ value were awarded to the Baltic companies.

RB Rail AS procurement process was executed effectively - out of 31 procurements launched in 2018, only one procurement was appealed (estimated value 285 800 EUR), one cancelled (estimated value 42 000 EUR) and one – retendered (estimated value 150 000 EUR). Efforts to improve the Global Project procurement policies to ensure transparency and best practice application throughout the project is continuously on the agenda of the Joint Venture. 

Plans for 2019

This year, the key focus of RB Rail AS together with the implementing bodies will be on starting timely delivery of the detailed technical designs, which is a precondition for strengthening the project maturity as well as to apply for next phase funding to start construction works on the main line by 2021.

Several significant studies will be carried out in 2019 to help with decisions regarding energy supply; railway maintenance facilities; control, command and signalling; and safety. In addition, we will explore how to ensure synergy between 1435mm and 1520mm railway networks to unlock full commercial potential of the Rail Baltica line in the future. In 2019 decisions regarding construction supply materials procurement system and construction logistics will also be taken aimed at accelerating a resource-efficient project implementation. Indicative list of procurements for the Global Project in 2019 is available at

In 2019 RB Rail AS will focus on deepening cooperation with Finland and Poland, aim to secure Global Project sustainable financing beyond 2023 and enable development of local infrastructure facilities. 

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