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Planned Rail Projects under the TIRS study


The Transport Infrastructure Regional Study in the Balkans, commonly referred to as the TIRS study, has been undertaken in the context of the Stability Pact. The French Government, through the "Agence Française de Développement" (AFD), provided the grant resources, ECMT being responsible for the supervision of the work.

The full terms of reference for the study, published in December 2000, have been established by the European Investment Bank (BEI), the European Commission and the ECMT.

The French consulting firm, Louis Berger S.A., carried out the work from March 2001 to January 2002. A Steering Group, chaired by ECMT, supervised the conduct of the project.

The final report of the study as well as Main Political Messages and Executive Summary were submitted at the Bucharest session of the Council of ECMT Ministers of Transport.

The TIRS study is only the first phase of a body of work that will be undertaken over a period of several years. The second phase has already been launched under the auspices of the European Commission. In this phase, a new study entitled REBIS Transport (Regional Balkan Infrastructure Study - Transport), for which a contract was signed on 27 May 2002, will be realised by COWI and should be completed in 2003.

The railway system in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) consists of two companies, the Railways of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ZFBiH)in Sarajevo and Republika Srpska Railways (ZRS) in Doboj. At the State level the Bosnia and Herzegovina Railways Public Corporation (BHZJK), established in 1998, is mainly responsible for the harmonisation of the level of railway infrastructure, the application of EU regulations, international traffic and inter Entity traffic.

The total length of the Bosnian Railways network is 1,032 km (59% in BiH ZFBIH), of which 75% is electrified. In 2001, staff amounted to 6,500 (54 % in ZFBIH). The BiH economy is highly dependent on the wood processing, mining (coal, iron) and metallurgy industry, which outputs are mostly carried by train. The BiH railway was seriously affected by the war and the traffic was totally stopped until 1995. The railway infrastructure (bridges, telecommunication systems, workshops) and the rolling stock were damaged during the conflict. The industrial plants, which are the Railways' major clients, were, to a great extent, also destroyed during the war. The rehabilitation of the railway is still far from completion and their intricate organisation at the State level (each Entity Railway has a territorial autonomy) slows down the modernisation process. Transit traffic is insignificant, mainly for cargo between Hungary and Ploce.

About 1.3 million passengers representing 53.4 million passenger-kilometres were carried by BiH railways in 2001 (of which 76% by ZRS) that is 5 times more than in 1997.

Domestic traffic accounts for 90% of the total traffic in RS and 51% in FBiH (all traffic was domestic in 1997). The average distance travelled by train is about 40 km. For the FBiH, most of the passenger traffic is registered on the 3 following sections:
• Visoko-Zenica
• Zenica-Maglaj and
• Sarajevo-Visoko

The annual traffic between Sarajevo and Maglaj amounts to 8,485 million passengers. The 2 main stations are Zenica (108,000 passengers) and Sarajevo (24,000 passengers in 2001). For the ZRS, the main stations are Doboj (495,000 passengers), Banja Luka (125,000 passengers), Prijedor (93,500) and B. Novi/Novi Grad (58,500).

Pricing policy and competition
The ZFBiH must submit its passenger tariff proposal to the Government of the FBiH for final approval. This type of service is subsidised by Government of the FBiH and it is enforced by appropriate laws. The level of subsidy is determined on an annual basis and allocated to the ZFBiH on a monthly basis.

The main competitors of the railways are the bus companies, mostly privately owned. The rail price levels are competitive to bus companies but other service components such as travel time, frequency and flexibility are more in favour of bus transport, especially for international traffic.

For example, for an international trip Sarajevo-Zagreb (2 rail companies are involved in the BiH, the ZFBiH and the ZRS):
• the roundtrip ticket price by railways is 35 EUR (second-class) and 55 EUR (first-class), though there is not significant difference between the two classes. The same trip costs 40-45 EUR by bus.
• there is only 1 pair of trains every day, whilst some 6-8 buses are operating daily along the same stretch
• travel time by train is 11 hours, including a 70 minutes stop at the border.

By bus, it takes 9-10 hours, including a 30-60 minutes stop at the border.

An agreement has been made between the two BiH railways' companies and the Croatian Railways for the division of the incomes. However, the ZFBiH is not in a favourable position as it cannot operate modern coaches on this section (they are owned by the Croatian Railways or by the ZRS). The situation is the same on the new railway service operated between Sarajevo and Budapest.

Future development
The Bosnian Railways' passenger traffic is forecast to reach 77.5 million passenger kilometre (pkm) in 2005 (+45 %/2001) and 145.2 million pkm in 2010 (+172.3 %/ 2001). However, these figures are still far below the pre-war traffic (Bosnian Railways transported 1,654 million passengers in 1985 and 1,318 million in 1990).

The ZRS traffic will represent 55% of total traffic in 2005 and the ZFBIH traffic 62% of total traffic in 2010. Domestic traffic constitutes the biggest share of the ZRS traffic (78% both in 2005 and 2010) whereas international traffic will be biggest in the ZFBIH (respectively 62% and 67%).

The increase is mostly due to the introduction of new railway services (reopening of lines). There is, for instance, no rail connection yet between Sarajevo and Belgrade where 10 buses are operated daily, mostly from Lukavica (Sarajevo suburb, 10 km from downtown). The railway service will also gradually improve and, thus, attract more clients.

280.9 M net tonne-kilometre (ntkm) were carried in 2001 by the Bosnian Railways (of which 58% by the ZFBIH). In the ZFBIH, 60% of the total traffic was domestic, 21% import, 10% export and 9% transit traffic. The main commodities were coal and coke (29% of total tkm at ZFBIH), ores (13%), oil and oil products, wheat, etc, mostly in import or transit (for ores). The average distance of the domestic traffic is short - only 18 km. For international traffic it is 70 km. In the ZRS (42% of the Bosnian Railways traffic in 2001), 61% was export, 26% transit, 10% import and 3% domestic. Average transport distance for the ZRS is 118 km (2001). The ZRS operates about 10% of total BiH freight volumes as most of the industrial complexes, including the coal based power plants and coal mines, are located within the FBiH. The area around Banja Luka (Tomasica) is rich in iron ore, which is transported to Western Serbia, mainly to the Steel plant located in Smederevo. Bauxite and aluminium ores are hauled to Zvornik Novi. Timber goes to Serbia and clay to Italy. 3,500 containers (mainly 20’) were hauled in 2001, which accounts for about 1% of total freight transport in BiH.

Freight trains are operated on a daily basis in the ZFBiH and the main sections for freight transport are:
• Podlugovi-Kakanj (coal transport from mine to the power plant)
• Zenica-Kakanj (coal and metal products)
• Banovici-Tuzla (coal transport from mine to power plant)
• (Ploce) Capljina-Sarajevo (wheat, petroleum)
• Mostar – (Ploce) (bauxite, aluminium)

The main stations (in 2001):
• Banovici (1.05 million tons)
• Ljubace (550,000 tons, flour)
• Lukavac (550,000 tons, coke)
• Kakanj (500,000 tons, coal)

The main commodities hauled by the ZRS are iron ore, bauxite, aluminium ore, clay and timber. The main sections used for freight transport are:
• Banja Luka-Prijedor-Volinja (clay)
• Tomasica-Zvornik-Novi Brasina (iron ore)

and the most important freight stations are:
• Tomasica (275,000 tons)
• Banja Luka (60,000 tons)
• Zvornik Novi (40,000 tons)
• Prijedor (37,000 tons)

The number of tkm of the Bosnian Railways was 50.5 M tkm in 1997 (of which 92% by the ZFBIH). The traffic rose by 450% from 1997 to 2001. In 1997, 65% of the ZFBIH traffic was domestic, 26% import and 9%, export. In 1997, all traffic was domestic at the ZRS.

Tariffs and competition
Freight tariffs are based on distance, load in wagons and type of wagon. The ZFBiH is free to grant discounts to significant clients. The main competitors of the freight rail transport are trucks - especially within international transport.

Future development
The Bosnian Railways freight traffic is expected to reach 442.2 M tonskilometre (tkm) in 2005 (+57.4 %/2001) and 646.1 M tkm in 2010 (+130 %/ 2001). The ZFBIH traffic will represent 66.5 of the total freight traffic in 2005 and 70% in 2010.

Domestic traffic is expected to make up the major share of the ZFBIH traffic (61 and 56%, respectively, in 2005 and 2010). Import will account for about 25% and export for about 15%. International traffic will be most considerable in the ZFBIH (62% and 67%, respectively). Export will be highest for the ZRS, both in 2005 and 2010 (58% and 74%). Transit will account for 45% in 2005 and 58% in 2010 and import for 9% and 12%, respectively. The increase is mainly based on the expected growth of the production for some local industries, notably:

• at Kakanj and Tuzla (60% of the total power potential in BiH is based on coal)
• at Ljubace (a giant silo for the production of flour)
• at Bacevici (aluminium plant which will be established and supported by French and German partners)
• at Zenica (steel plant) and
• at Lukavac (coke and chemicals)

Quality of rail freight service
4 freight clients of the Bosnian Railways have been interviewed, using a detailed questionnaire:
• Intersped (Sarajevo)
• SHP Celex (Banja Luka)
• Srpske Sume (Sokolac)
• Iron Mines (Prijedor)

3 of the above are manufacturers and one a freight forwarder. One client operates more than 200 wagons per day, one less than 10 and two others between 10 and 25. 2 clients operate less than 10 trucks per day another 2 between 10 and 25. None of the clients have their own fleet of trucks. These clients mainly carry metal products, cellulose, wood and iron. All clients use trucks on routes, which are also served by the railways. The commodities hauled are bulky meaning that, potentially, part of the road market share might be taken over by rail, though the average distance travelled by road is rather short (200-500 km).

The key components of the freight transport for the clients in BiH are as, a priority, security of the freight, speed of delivery, opportunity to pre-plan the date of delivery and cost of transport. Two clients have stated that they will need a 10% discount on the freight tariff to turn more cargo to rail transport. One client already gets a 50% discount, which makes freight by rail a satisfactory choice. Another client benefits from a 30% discount and requires 30% more to haul more freight by rail. All clients are satisfied with the security of the cargo during rail transport and with the reliability of delivery time. 3 clients have declared their dissatisfaction with the level of rail transport tariff. According to 2 of the clients interviewed, the main drawback of rail transport is the disposal of wagons after working hours, which was not stipulated in the contract. Clients ask for additional railway services such as help with filling in documentation forms, scheduling of transport, door to door delivery, notice to consignee 24hours in advance, storage of the cargo at the station and loading/unloading by the railway.

No delay occurs at the border (an average 2-hour waiting time for customs inspection).

Bosnian Railways passenger and freight revenues were 15.4 million EUR in 2001 (+15%/year 2000) of which 92% came from freight activities. The RS revenue was 31% of the Bosnian Railways passenger and freight revenues in 2001 (and 26% in 2000). Total operating expenses of the Bosnian Railways were 76 million EUR in 2001 (-4%/year 2000).

RS expenses amounted to 27% of the Bosnian Railways operating expenses. Staff expenses amounted to 33% of the total operating expenses of the Bosnian Railways in 2001 (+2%/year 2000).

RS staff expenses amounted to 38.5% of the Bosnian Railways staff cost (2001). Energy expenses represent 5.6% of total operating expenses (+7%/year 2000). RS energy expenses account for 44% of the total energy expenses (2001). Total depreciation was 31.7 million EUR in 2001 (-11.5%/year 2000). RS accounts for 22.5% of that depreciation. In both entities the revenues only partially cover the cash expenses ( a very small percentage in ZRS) and the deficit is financed by state subsidies.

According to the tax law applicable in Republika Srpska, there is a provision to allocate 2% of the total Sales Tax income to the Railway Fund. There is not such a provision in the Federation of BiH, where the level of the government subsidies for the railway is decided on a lump sum basis (for year 2003 it is foreseen to allocate about 15 million KM – Konvertible Mark, for the railways in the FBiH). The two different approaches explain the enormous difference between the levels of subsidies in the 2 entities (almost twice as much in the RS compared to the FBiH). The state subsidies for the railways, which represent 25-35% of the total revenue in the FBiH and 70-80% in the RS, are meant to cover part of the cost of infrastructure, passenger services and some specific freight services (such as combined transport). Despite of the subsidies, the losses in both entities remain very high and the railway system is almost bankrupt.

No data is available on the expected income statement over the next few years.

The current assets/liabilities ratio decreased from 1.7 to 1.2 between 2000 and 2001 as the value of assets dropped by 32% during that period.

The current assets/liabilities ratio grew from 2.4 to 4.0 between 2000 and 2001 as the value of assets increased by 62% during that period. The value of assets/liabilities in the ZRS represents bout ¼ of ZFBiH assets. No data is available on the estimated balance sheet over the coming years.

Total loans for the Bosnian Railways amounted to around 7.2 million EUR in 2000 and around 6.6 million in 2001, the biggest part (about 80%) is dedicated to the ZBiH.

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