Diesel locomotive upgrade deal signed

The Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and Latvian state-owned railway infrastructure manager VAS Latvijas Dzelzceļš have signed a 12-year loan agreement worth EUR 22.8 million for the modernisation of locomotives, the NIB said in a news release August 24.

"The replacement of engines, electric power systems and practically all parts above the wheels on fourteen locomotives is expected to prolong their lifetime by thirty years. The improved locomotives will comply with the Euro III A standard," the NIB said.

“Railway is the most important transport mode for freight in Latvia which is one of the principal corridors for transit between the EU and Russia. The technological upgrade financed by this loan will let the company increase the productivity of its services and improve its environmental performance”, said Henrik Normann, NIB President & CEO.

“The modernisation of diesel locomotives that started in 2015 is one of the most important projects for the Latvijas Dzelzceļš Group of companies. It allows us to improve the rolling stock by increasing its capacity and economic performance, as well as decrease its negative impact on the environment," said Aivars Strakšas, Vice-President of Latvijas Dzelzceļš.

The modernisation of the locomotives carried out by Latvijas Dzelzceļš’s subsidiary company, LDz Ritošā sastāva serviss, is expected to continue until 2018 with a total of fourteen locomotives to be modernised.

More powerful locomotives will enable the carriage of more cargo with fewer trains. Technical capacity will increase by 50% for the improved locomotives and an expected 17% decrease in fuel consumption equals to a greenhouse gas emission reduction by almost 15,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

The loan has a maturity time of 12 years.

"The project is of particular importance for the logistics value chain for coal transported from Russia to global markets via Latvia," details of the loan state -- though as previously reported by LSM, coal transport from Russia is currently in decline.

NIB is an international financial institution owned by eight member countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden. The Bank finances private and public projects in and outside the member countries.

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