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PORTUGAL: The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide Medway ROSCO with a €45m loan to finance its acquisition of 16 electric locomotives and 113 intermodal wagons.

Medway ROSCO is a subsidiary of Medway Operador Ferroviário de Mercadorias, which is procuring the new stock to facilitate cross-border rail freight in the Iberian Peninsula. EIB is co-financing the procurement with Banco Santander Totta, the Portuguese subsidiary of Banco Santander. The overall credit facility amounts to €77m.

According to EIB, the locomotives will provide additional capacity of around 1·5 billion tonne-km/year, equivalent to 54% of the total rail freight market in Portugal. They are to be deployed on container trains from the port of Sines to destinations across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as potential new services to transport lithium, wood, chemicals and other products.

These trains would predominantly serve underdeveloped ‘cohesion regions’ in Portugal and Spain, contributing towards the European Union’s economic, social and territorial cohesion objectives. The development of intermodal services is expected to promote sustainable transport by fostering a shift from road to rail. The investment is expected to support around 940 jobs during its implementation phase (2022-23) and create 56 new jobs during the subsequent operation.

‘EIB is strongly committed to supporting sustainable transport and fostering cohesion, promoting competition across Europe’, said Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix. ‘The new locomotives and intermodal wagons will improve interconnectivity within Spain and Portugal while reducing traffic, pollution and transport costs. As the EU climate bank, we are applying our knowledge and experience in the rail sector and project finance structures to successfully implement such operations to the great benefit of the people of Spain and Portugal.’