Major loan approved for Koper-Divača rail track
After a delay of over four years, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has given the final stamp of approval for an up to €250 million loan for the Koper-Divača rail project, slated for completion at the end of 2025.
The 27-kilometre track between Slovenia's sole commercial port and the Divača inland hub, is valued at €1.109 billion under the latest change to the investment programme, approved by the government in May.
2TDK, the state company managing the project, is expected to start drawing the EIB loan in 2025, the Infrastructure Ministry said on 12 July as the EIB gave its go-ahead.
The EIB had already approved the loan in May 2019, but set a number of additional conditions for the final approval, including a state guarantee, a signed concession agreement, a competitive selection procedure for the supervision of the project, and constraints regarding the value of the construction works.
The EIB has also set conditions for the start of the loan disbursement: the completion of excavation works in all tunnels, coverage for the entire financial plan, the completion of environmental procedures, and the provision of financial resources in connection with investments for the expansion of the port of Koper.
2TDK fulfilled most of these conditions in the second half of 2021, when it also submitted a feasibility study to the EIB and clarified the value of the main construction works.
In addition to all the conditions, the EIB also verified allegations made by civil society and individuals who approached it, both with regard to compliance with environmental standards and the different allegations made about the transparency of the project, also known as the second track, the ministry said.
"After today's vote by the EIB board of directors and the approval of the loan ... it is clear that 2TDK is managing the project in a transparent and economically sound manner and that the second track is an economically viable project that will improve Slovenia's connectivity with Central and Eastern Europe and bring numerous benefits to the Slovenian economy," the ministry said.
The track runs 27 kilometres in length but includes more than 37 kilometres of tunnels. It is being built by the Slovenian company Kolektor CPG and its Turkish partners Yapi Merkezi and Özaltin.
Taking a completely new route to the existing railway between Koper and Divača, the new track is to increase the maximum throughput capacity from 94 to 212 trains daily and the transport capacity from the current 14 million to 36.9 million tonnes a year.
It will cut the distance compared to the existing route from 44 kilometres to 27 kilometres.
The first trains are expected to run on the track in the first half of 2026.