The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced a EUR 160 million loan to Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Tunisiens (SNCFT) for the modernization of two railway lines.
The first project envisages upgrade and realignment works for the existing Tunis-Kasserine railway line, improving the connection between the two cities and enabling the flow of goods, services and people utilising the rail network, contributing to better integration between the North West and Centre West governorates and the capital city Tunis. The project will create additional capacity on the railway network to address overcrowding on trains and to improve service reliability and quality.
The second project includes the Suburban Southern coastal (Sahel) rail line between the towns of Moknine and Mahdia. The project envisages the construction of the second track and electrification works including the acquisition of six modern electric trains. The new trains will contribute to energy savings and reduction of carbon emissions by 14,000 tonnes each year. As an added benefit, it is estimated that an improved railway service will help decreasing vehicle traffic on the highway network by 10 million vehicles per kilometre per year by 2021.
“This project forms an integral part of the overall development strategy for the railway sector, particularly in the region of Kasserine, and is fully aligned with the country’s strategic orientation towards the development of infrastructure in inland regions. This will help achieve regional integration, strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life for the inhabitants of these regions,” Ziad Laadhari, Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation, said.
Under the EBRD loan, a corporate development programme will be introduced to support SNCFT in its railway restructuring efforts and in implementing measures to improve its financial sustainability and operational efficiency.
A technical cooperation package will support procurement arrangements, a corporate development programme, preparation of a network development strategy and support required environmental and social measures.