Ministers of transport of the three Baltic States discussed the implementation of the “Rail Baltica” project


2020 04 21


Ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia responsible for transport on April 17, 2020 convened for the on-line meeting on the status of implementation of “Rail Baltica” project.
The Ministers were pleased to note, that, the project implementation has not been hindered by COVID-19 pandemic and work is being successfully continued in all three countries. It was acknowledged that “Rail Baltica” may serve as a potential economic booster for the Baltic region market to stand an economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Minister of Transport and Communications of Lithuania Mr. Jaroslav Narkevič stressed, that Lithuania is speeding up works form Kaunas city to Latvian border and remains ready to complete “Rail Baltica” by 2026. “Lithuanian implementing body “Lithuanian Railways Infrastructure” (AB “Lietuvos geležinkelių infrastruktūra”) recently launched a market consultation for a 470 million EUR Rail Baltica railway construction procurement in Lithuania which is due to start soon. Suppliers from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and other countries are invited to participate actively and make use of this opportunity”, said Minister Mr. Jaroslav Narkevič.
Referring to the meeting of Prime Ministers of three Baltic States of 7 FEB the Ministers continued the discussion on the implementation model of the project, and exchanged views on the necessity to improve strategic decision making mechanism, and reviewed possible changes to management structures of the joint venture RB Rail AS aimed to ensure acceleration of project implementation. All improvements should serve the main objective – to complete railway construction and start its operation by the end of 2026.
Minister of Transport of Latvia Mr. Tālis Linkaits reiterated the intention to transfer part of the project activities currently implemented by the Latvian implementing body of “Rail Baltica” project SIA “Eiropas dzelzceļa līnijas” to the joint venture. Ministers took note of the proposal and agreed to explore what would be the implications of such reorganization and practical steps to be taken since changes to project implementation scheme should not hinder the timetable and be within the budget.
Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure of Estonia Mr. Taavi Aas stressed that in order to improve implementation of the project, horizontal integration of project implementers needs to be undertaken. Pan-Baltic activities and coordination of the project through RB Rail must be strengthened and complemented with decentralized design and construction through local branches of the company.
The Ministers restated the need to ensure sufficient financing from the EU to complete the project within planned schedule. They highlighted the importance the joint efforts made by the Baltic States during the EU MFF negotiations aimed to achieve sufficient allocation of the financing within the next financial framework.
The “Rail Baltica” project is progressing well even during the COVID pandemic. Design works are ongoing for 643 km of the railway line, including all of Estonia, Latvia and two sections in Lithuania. “Rail Baltica” suppliers are invited to take part in the Online Forum on 23 April to learn more about the status, plans and procurements in 2020.