Interview: Keeping Rail Baltica on track

Latvian Radio's Brussels correspondent tracked down two of the men given the responsibility of implementing the 6-billion-euro Rail Baltica project, which will connect Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by means of a high-speed rail link, with onward connections to Finland and Poland.

As previously reported by LSM, Finn Timo Riihimäki was appointed in February as the new Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the Management Board of the Rail Baltica Joint Venture. Riihimäki previously worked in several management positions at NRC Group A/S, a leading Finnish railway engineering, construction and maintenance company.

Timo Riihimäki and  Ignas Degutis on Rail BalticaArtjoms Konohovs/Latvian Radio

    Alongside him was Ignas Degutis who has been CFO and Member of the Management Board of RB Rail AS since June 2017. He is project management professional with experience in financial economics, including feasibility studies, financing models and contract negotiations for projects of national strategic importance. Prior to starting his career at the Rail Baltica joint venture, Degutis ensured financing for waste-to-energy CHP, biomass CHP plants in Vilnius and Kaunas working as CFO for JSC “Vilniaus kogeneracinė jėgainė” and project manager of the “Lietuvos energija” group, the largest energy company in Lithuania 

    The interview was conducted in Strasbourg while government coalition negotiations were still taking place in Estonia, and sees the pair discussing various aspects of Rail Baltica's challenges, including the importance of securing full European Union financing, ways of ensuring cooperation between the states involved and the chances of seeing Finland more heavily involved in the project.

    "We have recently reached a very important milestone. The project is in the design phase. We have recently signed design agreements and contracts and during this year we will be signing in total seven design contracts out of eleven design contracts in the main line. That's really nice progress," said Riihimäki.

    More details about Rail Baltica, its technical parameters and scheduled completion are available at the official website.

    Transport
    Economy