Minister Skuodis: Rail Baltica construction pace is unsatisfactory, the Board of LTG must manage investment risks

  • 2024-06-12
  • Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania

Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis says that the top management of Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (LTG) must find solutions to speed up the implementation of strategically important European gauge railway project Rail Baltica. As lack of progress poses the risk to lose part of the EU funds allocated for the project in Lithuania by the end of this year, the Minister has instructed the Board of AB Lietuvos Geležinkeliai to submit a risk management plan.

Having considered the Rail Baltica progress report provided by LTG and the joint venture RB Rail AS, the Minister has requested the Board of LTG to submit a risk management plan to the shareholder by 1 July on how to accelerate project delivery.

"The current geopolitical situation encourages rapid integration into the European railway network, increasing the quality and capacity of transport infrastructure, but the major rail projects are now delayed, with some of them substantially behind schedule. I call on the board of LTG to take a serious look at the situation and take immediate action to manage the risks and accelerate the work," said the Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr Skuodis.

The risk of losing part of the EU funds for the project has been repeatedly indicated to the company's Board. The need to accelerate the strategic railway projects and to complete the major construction work on the European gauge line to Panevėžys by 2024 was also clearly stated in the Letter of Expectations of the Ministry of Transport and Communications to LTG back in 2022. 

If the Rail Baltica project is not implemented on time as planned, the Ministry sees a risk that Lietuvos Geležinkeliai will lose part of the EU funds earmarked for the project. The responsibility for this situation lies with the management of LTG, the company responsible for the implementation of Rail Baltica in Lithuania. The delays could lead to the loss of EU funding, most of which is assigned for the construction of the railway bridge over the Neris River.

Despite the delays, Lithuania has made the most progress in implementing the Rail Baltica project, compared to the three Baltic states: the most mature section from Kaunas to the Lithuanian-Latvian border is under construction, with a railway crossing and engineering structures being built on a nearly 30-kilometre stretch from Kaunas to the Lithuanian-Latvian border. It is planned to sign contracts for works on another 70 km long section by the end of this year, public procurement is also planned for the construction of 168 km of tracks.

Rail Baltica is the largest railway infrastructure project in the modern history of the Baltic States and will result in a fully electrified double-track European standard-gauge railway connecting Warsaw, Kaunas, Vilnius, Panevėžys, Riga, Pärnu and Tallinn. The total length of the Rail Baltica railway line in the Baltic States is 870 km: in Lithuania – 392 km, in Latvia – 265 km, and in Estonia – 213 km.