British Steel wants to supply rails to Ukraine
UK’s manufacturer of rail profiles British Steel is considering the possibility to export its products to Ukraine. The British-made rails could be applied for the construction of new railways in the eastern part of the country. There is no final decision, this issue is being negotiated with the Ukrainian government.
The state-owned company Ukrainian Railway (UZ) plans to upgrade 150 kilometres of tracks this year. To this end, the local government is considering the possibility to attract foreign suppliers to these works. “The British Steel proposes an investment project for the rehabilitation of the Ukrainian tracks at the level of the intergovernmental agreement. The negotiation process is currently ongoing,” said Vladyslav Kryklii, Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, in an interview to the ‘Mahistral’ online newspaper (a corporate title of the Ukrainian Railway). Afterwards, the politician implied that British Steel is not the only foreign company interested in this.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government is also looking for investments and suppliers to participate in several construction projects. Among them are the installation of the 50-kilometre new railway in Luhansk Region of Ukraine in order to connect some separated lines. In addition, there is a project of the dual gauge railway between the Ukrainian city of Lviv and the Polish border. The future of these projects is unclear and depends on the economic situation in the country after the lockdown is over.
It is worth to note that the Ukrainian Railway (UZ) usually purchases the rails from the local manufacturers, or to be more precise, from the single manufacturer. It is about Azovstal Iron & Steel Works, a part of Metinvest Holding, jointly owned by two Ukrainian tycoons Rinat Akhmetov (over 71 per cent) and Vadym Novynskyi (around 24 per cent).
According to GMK Center (the Ukrainian think tank dedicated to metallurgy), UZ consumes the rails in the range of 30,000 to 40,000 tonnes per year. For instance, the Ukrainian Railway purchased more than 36,000 tonnes of rails in 2017 and 40,000 tonnes of rails in 2018. This year, the railway company plans to order over 70,000 tonnes of rails. However, the mentioned amount could be reduced as a result of the quarantine measures and the consequent reductions of investments in infrastructure modernisation.