Talks with the Minister of Infrastructure about the further development of the railway infrastructure


(14. Nov 2014) Minister of Infrastructure, Dr. Peter Gašperšič, President of the Management Board of Port of Koper, Mr. Dragomir Matić, Managing Director of Slovenian Railways, Mr. Dušan Mes and Managing Director of construction company DRI, Mr. Jurij Kač took part in the presentation journey with a meeting, held in a freight train between Koper and Borovnica. The purpose of this meeting was to illustrate the current situation on the railway line Koper - Ljubljana, the extent of February sleet damage and the railway repair works.

This time, the meeting about the second railway link held on the board of the freight train. Photo: Miško Kranjec

Before the journey, the participants visited the Port of Koper and at the freight station Koper they boarded the freight train carrying 1.500 tons of cargo, which left the Port in direction of Ljubljana.  During the journey they had a look at rehabilitation works, replacement of electric locomotives with diesel ones and in general the traffic flows on the section of the railway line which was extremely damaged by this year's freezing rain. The Minister and the Management Board of three companies observed a part of the route - which due to slow train journeys, crossings of trains and a large extent of works on the railway line took three hours - also from the driver's cabin of the electric and diesel locomotive. 

Minister of Infrastructure, Dr. Peter Gašperšič, said that the actual event had given him the opportunity to have a thorough insight in two infrastructure systems of the utmost importance for Slovenia, and namely Port of Koper and the “first track railway connection” between Koper and Ljubljana. 

The topic of the working meeting held in the train was mainly about the opportunities of the increased facilities and standpoints, opinions and possibilities of the implementation and the start-up of the second railway track project. The discussions were focused on the search of an adequate financing, whereby the interlocutors agreed that it would be urgent to obtain the funds outside the budget resp. in the framework of the public-private partnership. The Minister Gašperšič was mainly interested in standpoints of both managing directors about the financing possibilities of the project, and during the talks a high level of consensus was achieved about the financing possibilities the discussers would research jointly and in detail, harmonizing them in the near future. They will continue today's discussions intensively in this direction. 

The President of the Management Board of Luka Koper Dragomir Matić announced that the throughput in the Port would be growing in the next years, and that the existing railway track would probably be congested in 2018: “This is that critical point which in the opinion of experts means the congestion of the existing railway track. Our customers are concerned about that, in particular those planning the increase of cargo quantities to be conveyed on railway.”

It shall be reminded that more than 56% of total cargo throughput of Port of Koper is transported by railway, last year 10.1 million tons. The daily average for Koper port in 2013 was 432.634 loaded/unloaded wagons and 54 train arrivals/departures. Therefore, the representatives of the Ministry, Port, DRI and Slovenian Railways also discussed about the future plans and urgent investments to be done in the railway infrastructure. Analysis and examples from abroad show that one euro invested in the construction of infrastructure has a multiple effect in the economy, one billion € investment in the construction generates or preserves 17.000 workplaces. 

The Managing Director of Slovenian Railways, Mr. Mes assessed the working meeting as very positive: “The quantity of cargo on this segment has been increasing, we are also aware about the state of infrastructure, but the fact is that all the cargo has to be carried whilst the railway line has to be upgraded and repaired. Despite all difficulties, together with Luka Koper we are very competitive which is evidenced by growth of orders”.

The volume of transported cargo has also been growing constantly. Despite the infrastructural limitations and bottlenecks on the railway network between Ljubljana - Koper, the rail freight traffic and the maintenance of the infrastructure are running smoothly and safely. Several sections of railway tracks in Slovenia are currently exploited almost up to full capacity. The railways and the port plan a further growth of volume of works and revenues this year. The growth should be followed by the investments in rail and upgrading of the railway lines in order to provide quality transport and services to business partners.

Thanks to the presentation journey and the establishment of a closer cooperation between the key Slovenian logistics and the Ministry of Infrastructure actors a big step forward was done. From the awareness about the difficulties the congestions on certain sections represent for the Slovenian economy, up to the establishment of tangible plans for the future.