Borissov and Merkel reached agreement on the Desiros
Among the main topics on the agenda of talks between Bulgarian PM Boyko Borissov and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on 18th January in Berlin was the repayment of credit for Siemens-built Desiro train-sets which BDZ EAD Holding has taken from the German state-owned bank KfW.
The credit agreement with the bank for the procurement of 25 Desiro EMUs (following the procurement of 25 DMUs) was signed on 11th June 2005 and amounts to EUR 143.120 million. The payment date of eighty-five percent of the price, i.e. EUR 123.400 million, is 30th December 2017 and 15% (EUR 19.7 million) are due on 30th December 2013. On 30th June 2008 BDZ EAD signed a new contract with KfW Bank Group for the maintenance of the 25 Desiro EMUs as well as of the previously delivered 25 Desiro DMUs for the overall amount of EUR 13.355 million.
Hitherto, BDZ EAD Holding has repaid EUR 31.112 million (i.e. BGN 60.850 million) out of the principal amount of the EMUs credits as well as EUR 17.795 million (i.e. BGN 34.804 million) of interest. The total overdue debt of BDZ to KfW amounts to EUR 35.614.
This situation compelled the Bulgarian Prime Minister to address personally the problem with the railway debt to KfW. “I am sorry that our predecessors did not repay the trains when there were billions of budget surplus but chose to take a credit instead”, said Boyko Borissov at the joint press conference with Angela Merkel. “Several years ago, when there was a surplus in the state treasury they opted for a new credit instead of paying the previous one back and now we have started paying back this credit in the circumstances of a financial and economic crisis. We have no way of not paying it as otherwise the unlimited trust of Germany will be breached. We cannot allow that to happen”.
Discussing the issue of the credit, taken by BDZ from the German bank KfW, Borissov and Merkel agreed that Bulgaria will pay back EUR 1 million per month to settle its debt for the Desiro train-sets. Currently, the railways pay only for the interest over the credit amount. Minister Moskovski assured the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations that BDZ had elaborated a debt settling plan, according to which the national railway carrier shall pay back EUR 10 million from its own funds by end-2012.
“The company sets great stakes on the proceeds from the future privatization of freight services, as most of these proceeds will be utilized for the settling of the debt to KfW Bank Group”, pointed out Moskovski. He added that the decision on the loan from the World Bank was also due soon and this funding would go to the rehabilitation of the company as well.
NRIC signed the contracts for Dimitrovgrad – Svilengrad with: TERNA, Railway infrastructure 2011, Start Engineering
On 19th January the VIP conference hall in Sofia Central Station hosted the ceremony for the signing of contracts for reconstruction and electrification of Dimitrovgrad – Svilengrad railway line. It is common knowledge that the bids for the separate lots of the project were opened on 4th August 2011 but the signing of contracts was delayed for a number of reasons, including contestations of the committee decisions, submitted by some bidders. Dimitrovgrad – Svilengrad line is part of the large-scale project “Reconstruction and electrification of Plovdiv – Svilengrad – Turkish/Greek border railway line along Corridors IV and IX”. The latter is funded through a bridge funding scheme, i.e. funding comes both under ISPA programme and Operational Programme “Transport” (OPT).
The project for Dimitrovgrad – Svilengrad line is split into the following three lots:
Lot 1: Reconstruction and electrification of Dimitrovgrad – Harmanli railway line section with approximate total track length of 36 kilometers. The contractor is Terna SA and the proposed price is BGN 136 000 000 (before VAT);
Lot 2: Reconstruction and electrification of Harmanli – Svilengrad railway line section with approximate total track length of 34 kilometers as well as rehabilitation and electrification of Svilengrad – Greek border railway section of total length 4 kilometers. The contractor is consortium “Railway infrastructure 2011” (the consortium is between the Austrian company Porr Bau GmbH and the Bulgarian company “Road Construction Equipment” JSC) and the proposed price is BGN 116 497 477 before VAT.
Lot 3: Construction of new traction substations in Simeonovgrad and Svilengrad as well as expansion of the existing substation in Dimitrovgrad. “Start Engineering” JSCo. is the contractor and the proposed price is BGN 20 350 493 (before VAT).
In the presence of the Minister of transport, information technologies and communications Ivaylo Moskovski, the Director General of SE NRIC Milcho Lambrev signed the contracts with the selected contractors, represented by Alexandros Michailidis, Contractor representative of Terna SA; Marko Marijanovic and Ivan Ivanov, Contractors representative of consortium “Railway infrastructure 2011”; as well as Georgi Georgiev, Executive Director of “Start Engineering” JSCo.
In his speech at the ceremony minister Moskovski highlighted the significance of the project especially with a view to the commissioning of the Bosphorus tunnel after 2014 and the increase in railway traffic. Milcho Lambrev pointed out the contribution of the project to the enhancement of the safety of passengers and railway personnel, interoperability and reduced journey times.
NRIC implements successfully its track renewal programme
The Minister of Transport Ivaylo Moskovski inspected personally the implementation of several key projects of SE National Railway Infrastructure Company. Together with the Director General of SE NRIC, eng. Milcho Lambrev, and other managers of the company, minister Moskovski travelled in a special engineering train along the line section from Dimitrovgrad to Krumovo which is part from Plovdiv – Svilengrad – Turkish/Greek border line that is being completely reconstructed and electrified. The inspection covered several of the newly-built or fully reconstructed stations – Yabalkovo, Skobelevo, Karadzhalovo, Parvomai and Krumovo, where passengers can already enjoy European levels of comfort.
The project “Reconstruction and electrification of Plovdiv – Svilengrad – Turkish/Greek border railway line” is the largest infrastructure project of SE NRIC. Its implementation will result in increase of passenger train speeds up to 160 km/h and of freight trains – up to 120 km/h.
During the inspection the minister pointed out that one of the priorities in Bulgarian transport policy is the compliance of the railway network and rolling stock with European requirements for quality and safety. Ivaylo Moskovski expressed his appreciation for the quality of reconstruction works in the inspected sections and received the assurance of NRIC management that the strategic projects which the company implements will be completed in compliance with quality requirements and deadlines for each particular phase. Among these is the new railway bridge over Maritsa river, which will accelerate and facilitate the operation of international trains to and from Istanbul
In result of the implementation of the Strategy for the development of the transport system of the Republic of Bulgaria by 2020 and the modernization and rehabilitation of railway lines which are part of the Trans-European railway network, SE NRIC, as managing body of railway infrastructure, elaborates and assists the implementation of a number of railway infrastructure projects, such as:
• Electrification and reconstruction of Svilengrad – Turkish border railway line;
• Rehabilitation of railway infrastructure in line sections along Plovdiv – Burgas railway line;
• Modernization of Sofia – Plovdiv railway line;
• Dimitrovgrad – Svilengrad;
• Modernization of Vidin – Sofia railway line;
• Modernization of Sofia – Dragoman railway line;
• Ìîäåðíèçàöèÿ Modernization of Sofia – Pernik – Radomir railway line;
• Construction of an intermodal terminal in South-Central planning region in Bulgaria – Plovdiv;
• Development of Sofia railway junction.
With a view to the enhancement of quality, efficiency and management of railway infrastructure, SE National Railway Infrastructure Company elaborated and implemented the project “Design and implementation of a Geographical information system (GIS) for the needs of SE NRIC”.
TERNA received PM Borissov: the state will guarantee the development of railways
The state will guarantee the European development of the Bulgarian railways, declared the PM Boyko Borissov after taking part in the test runs along a line section of the projects “Reconstruction and electrification of Plovdiv – Svilengrad – Turkish/Greek border railway line and optimization of the track for speeds of 160 km/h”. Together with the ministers of transport Ivaylo Moskovski, of regional development Liliyana Pavlova and of EU funds management Tomislav Donchev, the Bulgarian PM travelled the track between Krumovo and Parvomai with a special test-run composition that included a British locomotive, owned by BRC, and a Bulgarian laboratory that monitored the condition of the track and the catenary line at the optimum speed of 160 km/h. During the actual test-run the composition, which can operate at a maximum speed of 160 km/h (200 km/h for tilting trains) achieved a speed of 165 km/h in the line section, thus covering the 37-km-distance in about 20 minutes.
Currently, over 99% of the works under the first phase of the project have been completed, i.e. works on Krumovo – Parvomai line section, the contractor for which is the prestigious Greek company TERNA. TERNA’s Representative and Project Manager is eng. Alexandros Mihailidis, Project Director is Richard Kerry. It is common knowledge that GEK TERNA Group is among the largest Greek corporations in the construction sphere and a number of other spheres. Over recent years it has become very active in our country and took part in many bidding procedures. In December 2011 the company was announced as winning bidder for the construction of Dimitrovgrad – Harmanli line section from Plovdiv – Svilenrad project. Having accumulated nearly 40 years of experience and developed highly-educated and professional teams, GEK TERNA Group established its reputation for being a company that offers notable quality and effective options for the implementation of various and complex projects. Its corporate culture is based on the adoption of new technologies and development strategies as well as on the philosophy of respect for architectural heritage and environment. The Group fulfils the commitments it has undertaken, including those in our country, in compliance with these values in particular. Apart from the construction sector, it is active in the sphere of immovable assets, energy production and concessions. It implements various private and public projects, including the construction of wind farms.
Works under the second phase, i.e. Parvomai – Dimitrovgrad line section, have already been completed by 95 percent. It is common knowledge that those two phases are funded under ISPA programme, while the remaining section of the overall line (from Dimitrovgrad to Svilengrad and the border to Turkey and Greece) is funded under Operational Programme “Transport”. The bidding procedure for the selection of contractor for the line sections Dimitrovgrad – Harmanli and Harmanli – Svilengrad has already been accomplished and a contract is pending signing. It is expected that the last section Svilengrad – Turkish/Greek border will be ready in the summer of 2012. According to the transport minister Ivaylo Moskovski, the overall project will be fully implemented by 2014.
OPT progress was presented
Sofia Grand Hotel hosted on 15th December the annual forum for the presentation of progress in the implementation of Operational Programme “Transport 2007 – 2013” (OPT). Participants in the event were the Minister of Transport Ivaylo Moskovski, the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Liliyana Pavlova, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Commmittee on transport, information technologies and communications Ivan Valkov, the Deputy Mayor of Sofia Municipality Liubomir Hristov, the management teams of beneficiary companies, National Assembly deputes, experts and NGO representatives.
In his presentation minister Moskovski pointed out that certified payments under OPT amount to over BGN 893 million, or 23% of the programme budget. According to him, grant financial assistance of over BGN 3.407 billion (87% of the programme budget) has been contracted hitherto. The beneficiaries received more than BGN 830 million, which exceeds 20% of the envisaged funding. Thus, OPT ranks amongst the topmost operational programmes in our country in terms of contracted and disbursed funding.
There is a steady trend that each year is better than the previous ones as regards OPT implementation. Thus, in 2011 the grant financial assistance was more than BGN 2.15 billion, i.e. almost twice as much as in the period 2007 – 2010. The beneficiaries received over BGN 617 million or nearly three time as much as in 2007 – 2010. The total number of projects, approved for funding under the programme, is 66, of which 4 railway, 5 road, 2 intermodal and 1 waterway project cost more than EUR 50 million each. The EC has reimbursed EUR 374.6 million of funding.
OPT objectives for 2012 are the continuation of the current rhythm of work, pointed out the Director of “Programme and Project Coordination” in MTITC (which is OPT Managing body) Galina Vasileva. All contracts under the programme will be concluded by mid-2012 or by the third trimester at the latest. The first railway project under OPT – the railway line Svilengrad – Turkish/Greek border – should be completed in the summer of 2012.
In his turn the Director of “Strategic development and investment projects” in SE NRIC, Stiliyan Krotnev stated that 94% of the funding, envisaged for the railway sector by 201, has already been contracted. He commented on the discontinuation of the project for the construction of an intermodal terminal at Poduyane Marshalling Yard and the decision to re-allocated the funding to the accelerated construction of such a terminal near Plovdiv, which should be completed in 2013.
Schenck Process: optimism in spite of the crisis
Established in Germany back in 1881, the history of Schenck Process GmbH has spanned over more than 125 years. The company is a proved world leader on the market of high-quality solutions for industrial technological processes: cargo weighing, inspection, automation, direct communication and management of related systems, optimum data provision and communication with various systems for electronic processing of these data.
Schenck Process establishes a comprehensive network of daughter companies, which are a competent partner of global importance for the industry. Among the main objectives of the company are to act locally in support of specific and varying national requirements. Schenck has organized its business around six international business segments (IBS). The main members of Schenck Process Group are: Schenck Process, Schenck AccuRate, Stock Equipment Company, Stock Redler, Stock Fairfield è Screenex.
Among its achievements in 2011 Schenck Process GmbH can point out the facts that it has over 3 000 employees worldwide, a network of 35 locations and a multiple offices, more than 130 territorial agencies, over 30 worldwide service bases offering customer-focused support as well as 16 state-of-art assembly facilities. The revenues in 2011 amount to more than EUR 550 million.
SOME OF THE PRODUCTS OF THE COMPANY ARE:
MULTIRAIL®LegalWeight dynamic weighing system
The high-precision measuring technology MULTIRAIL® allows the accurate weighing and metrological control of the wagons in train compositions (in compliance with OIML R106-1). The technology is applicable for all types of wagons. Static weighing of each bogie of the wagons can be performed with high precision. For the purposes of dynamic metrological control, the scales are used as static standard scales.
MULTIRAIL®WheelScan is an optimized system which controls the loading of wheels, axles and wagons as well as the position of wagon weight centers .
MULTIRAIL® WheelScan is a unique and innovative system for diagnostics of railway rolling stock units, which are potentially damaging to the railway track and could cause the derailment of train compositions.
Thanks to the timely identification of excessive overloading of railway tracks and the appropriate maintenance of railway rolling stock units there is a considerable potential for operation and maintenance cost savings.
The software DISOWARE Terra is the system for data management of Schenck Process systems. It provides direct communication and management of the wagon scales and the Check-point as well as the processing of incoming data.
The use of an SQL database ensures the maximum security of data both in the individual systems and in networks with multiple users.
Meeting of OPT Monitoring committee
The construction of Sofia Underground from Tsarigradsko shoes Blvd. to Sofia Airport (EUR 100 million) as well as the rehabilitation of Sofia Central Station (EUR 30 million) will be funded under Operational Programme “Transport”, announced the Minister of transport Ivaylo Moskovski at the meeting of OPT Monitoring committee, held on 8th December in Pravets. The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Regional Development, Liliyana Pavlova. SE NRIC was represented by the Director General Milcho Lambrev, his deputy Hristo Alexiev and the Director of “Strategic Development and investment projects” Stiliyan Krotnev. They reported on the progress of project which are currently under implementation, the overview of those envisaged for the next Programme period 2014 – 2020 as well as the new model for railway project management under OPT, developed with the support of Jaspers initiative. The EC representatives highly appreciated the progress attained by SE NRIC. The Committee voted EUR 110 million from OPT priority axis 4 “Enhancement of navigation” to be transferred to axis 3 “Enhancement of intermodality in passenger and cargo services”.
Cost-saving measures in BDZ-Passengers
As of 1st May 2012 passenger trains will be driven only by one driver (i.e. the position of assistant-driver is discontinued). This will allow BDZ-Passengers to make savings of BGN 2.5 million per year from salaries. According to the business plan of the company, the overall effect of planned measures for cost saving and revenue increase in 2012 is expected to reach BGN 11.68 million. BGN 200 000 will be saved by the closing of International Railway Ticketing Agency “Rila”, which will become a department within “Marketing and Sales” division. BGN 100 000 will come from the sales of apartments and garages, BGN 600 000 from the sale of scrap metal and further BGN 90 000 - the sales of internal advertizing areas. The outsourcing of the cleaning of BDZ-Passengers trains and offices will cut costs by BGN 1.1 million. BDZ-Passengers expects an increase of revenue by BGN 5 million from railway ticketing machines at the stations and on board of the trains. Costs will be reduced by BGN 790 000 in result of the commissioning of 11 new posts for remote reading of data on fuel quantity and precise time of fuel dispensing in the locomotive tank. The fuel storage tanks in the depots will be renovated by end-June.