The EBRD is lending Javno Preduzece Zeleznice Srbije, the Serbian state-owned railway company, €60mn to purchase around 1,100 freight wagons.

The sovereign-guaranteed loan will enable the company to meet the increasing flow of freight traffic – such as coal, steel and iron ore – across its 2,980km rail-route across Corridor X, the main rail track running from Croatia and Hungary through Serbia.

A portion of the loan will finance a wheel lathe, used to restore the profile of wagon wheels.

At the same time, the European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending Zeleznice Srbije €80mn to renew track along Corridor X. The European Agency for Reconstruction is providing €1.3mn to help implement the overall project, and the French government is providing €300,000 to help implement a restructuring component to the project.

This latest loan builds on cooperation between the EBRD and Zeleznice Srbije. In 2001 the bank, together with the EIB, helped the railway company refurbish electric locomotives, buy new track equipment and initiate a sector restructuring programme. Zeleznice Srbije operates in both passenger and freight transport, with the latter forming the majority of its operations.