The Second Railway Track from Divaca to the Port of Koper

The Second Railway Track from Divaca to the Port of Koper

The Divaca-Koper section is an integral part of the Trans-European Transport Network (“TEN-T network”).  In accordance with EU Regulation No. 1316/2013, the territory of the Republic of Slovenia is crossed by two corridors of the core network, an integral part of which is also the Divaca–Koper line:

  • the Baltic Adriatic corridor in the direction (Graz)–Sentilj–Maribor–Ljubljana–Koper/Trieste, and
  • the Mediterranean corridor in the direction (Venice)–Trieste/Koper–Ljubljana–Pragersko–Hodos–(Budapest).

The importance of the Divaca-Koper line is most evident in international railway freight transport, which is understandable given the role of the Port of Koper in linking the hinterland Slovenian and European economies with countries overseas.

The Port of Koper is almost the only generator of cargo transport on the Koper–Divaca section of the line. The port of Koper and other important North Adriatic ports (Venice, Trieste, Ravenna, Rijeka) are attractive for transoceanic cargo, especially for cargo coming from Asia that arrives at these ports about a week earlier than it would at rival north European ports (Rotterdam, Antwerp etc.). In 2008, the company Luka Koper, d.d., signed a concession contract with the Republic of Slovenia for a period of 35 years for the provision of port services, the management, development and regular maintenance of port infrastructure in the Koper cargo port.

The existing line on the section in question does not meet the standards in the ensured train speed and length.

The new line will be 27.1 kilometers long, with eight tunnels (a total of 20.5 kilometers in length) and two viaducts and should be built by the end of 2025, with the most intensive building dynamics between 2019 and 2023.

Current Developments

As reported in September 2018, the management of the Divaca-Koper railway project has been transferred to 2TDK, the special purpose vehicle in 100% state ownership that was incorporated based on the law governing the project.

The contractors of 2TDK, Kolektor CPG in Euroasfalt BIH, are currently starting with the construction of access roads to the future construction site, and 2TDK is regularly publishing various construction and technical tenders on its website. The latest tender published is for the execution of objects for crossing the Glinscica valley (the deadline to submit bids is 10 May 2019).

On January 24, 2019, the Slovenian government approved the investment programme for the Divaca–Koper line project. The document prepared by Deloitte examines the economic and financial viability of the project. In the assessment of Deloitte, the company charged with preparing the programme, investment in a Divača–Koper line is economically and financially justified.

The cost of the construction of the Divaca–Koper line is estimated to be EUR 1.194 billion, which includes construction costs of EUR 1.150 billion, interest costs, fees and other costs of EUR 32 million, and running costs for the 2TDK company of EUR 12 million.

If there is no participation by hinterland countries, the central government will invest EUR 522 million of capital in the project design company 2TDK. EUR 122 million will be invested by 2026; this will come from a surcharge on freight vehicle tolls. It will invest at least EUR 200 million from the budget in the capital of 2TDK (EUR 400 million if there is no participation by a hinterland country). If there is participation in the project by a hinterland country, the central government’s EUR 200 million investment in 2TDK is planned to take place in 2021 and 2022.

It is envisaged that the remainder of the funds required to complete the new line will come from European grants (EUR 250 million), loans from international financial institutions and SID Banka (EUR 250 million) and loans from commercial banks (EUR 167 million). EUR 6 million will come from an increase in fees for users of railway lines in the Slovenian core network; these will be collected while the new track is being constructed.

The investment programme foresees the original single-track line being upgraded to a two-track line in the future. It, therefore, takes into account the requirement to increase the diameter of three service tunnels accordingly.

The project will be paid for in full with new levies to be paid by infrastructure users. Carriers of freight by road, rail and through the Port of Koper will pay a surcharge on the toll and throughput tax, in addition to a usage fee for the second track and an increased usage fee on the core (TEN-T) network.

On 15 February 2019, the European Investment Bank published the Divaca-Koper project on its list of projects to be financed.