“Everybody wants Rail Baltica”: strong political and European Commission support highlighted at Rail Baltica Industry Day 2023

  • 2023-11-16

The third Rail Baltica Industry Day in 2023 continued its tradition of success, reaffirming the enduring appeal of this format among Rail Baltica partners, suppliers, and the market. Held online on 8 November 2023, the event offered an insightful update on project progress and plans to over 900 registered participants from the EU and beyond. This highlighted the steady support from partners and the market, making this annual gathering a reliable and well-received occasion.

The agenda for the day covered a spectrum of aspects of the Rail Baltica global project. From country-specific insights and procurement strategies to upcoming plans, advancements in railway sub-systems, and construction updates, participants were provided with a comprehensive range of information. Each presentation was followed by a dedicated question and answer segment, facilitating direct interaction between attendees and the project team.

The conference commenced with a warm welcome from Madame Catherine Trautmann, the European Coordinator for the North Sea-Baltic TEN-T Corridor, of which Rail Baltica is a vital component. Her opening address underscored the magnitude and importance of the project, emphasizing the long-term benefits it will bring to the economy, environment, European security, and citizens' travel within the region.

Madame Trautmann, who in her role has been closely monitoring Rail Baltica for nearly a decade, described it as a crucial moment in the project's evolution as the construction of the mainline is starting. She also thanked the market for its interest in the project and stressed that, enjoying strong political support at all levels, national and European, “Rail Baltica is a very interesting and safe business opportunity.” Politically, there is resounding support, with the European Union recognizing the necessity of a resilient transport connection from the Baltic states to the rest of the European Union. The citizens and politicians of the Baltic states, she noted, are fully aware of the project's merits, echoing the sentiment that "Everybody wants Rail Baltica." The European Commission's substantial financial backing further underscores the project's importance, with 2.2 billion euros earmarked for Rail Baltica in the Baltic States, making it the recipient of the highest proportion of funds from the Connecting Europe Facility.

Following the welcome words, high-level representatives from the Baltic States' ministries responsible for implementing Rail Baltica addressed the audience. Mr Kristen Michal, Minister of Climate of the Republic of Estonia, Mr Kaspars Briškens, Minister of Transport of the Republic of Latvia, and Ms Loreta Maskaliovienė, Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania, reiterated their unwavering support for the project.

The subsequent presentations featured key figures in the Rail Baltica delivery organizations, including Mr Thierry Boussillon, Chief Programme Management Officer at RB Rail AS, the central coordinator of the project. Boussillon emphasized that Rail Baltica's primary goal is to become an integral part of the EU transport network by 2030. “Our vision,” Boussillon affirmed, “remains unchanged – this project will support the achievement of climate, sustainability, and safety goals. It is a clear catalyst for further development opportunities in this region and will improve the mobility of goods and passengers.”

The final segment of the Rail Baltica Industry Day 2023 focused on the project's strategic interaction with the market and on procurement plans, as well as essential aspects of the procurement process. Notably, the session addressed recent changes in public procurement legislation, highlighting the project's commitment to transparently navigating evolving legal frameworks. Emphasis was placed on the pre-tender stage, stressing the importance of market consultations and effective supplier communication for a streamlined procurement process. Additionally, the conference offered insights into the project's procurement landscape in 2023 and anticipated developments for 2024. 

For those who missed Rail Baltica Industry Day 2023, you can catch up by watching the event on the Global Project's YouTube channel. This ensures that the valuable insights and information presented during the occasion are accessible to anyone interested. Due to the overwhelming interest and the inability to address all questions during the live event, unanswered queries will be addressed and posted on the Global Project's official website.

About Rail Baltica 

Rail Baltica is one of Europe's largest high-speed infrastructure projects, aiming to establish a modern and sustainable rail link that connects the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania with the European rail network. It is also a part of the trans-European transport corridor.

Rail Baltica will be a fully electrified, double-track railway with a standard gauge of 1435 mm and will be equipped with ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) and designed to meet European standards. With a design speed of 249 km/h, Rail Baltica will significantly reduce travel times between the Baltic States and major European cities. It will serve as a modern infrastructure for passenger, freight, and military mobility, promoting accessibility and facilitating business, tourism, and cultural exchange. Additionally, the project will enhance the Baltic region's position as a vital transit hub, fostering stronger trade connections and promoting regional cooperation.

About RB Rail AS 

RB Rail AS is a multinational joint venture of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania established to lead and coordinate the implementation of the Rail Baltica Global Project, the first infrastructure development project of this scale in the Baltic region. More about Rail Baltica global project: www.railbaltica.org