Kyiv is ready to give control of Ukrainian Railways to the German company Deutsche Bahn AG for 10 years, announced Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The speech was published on his Facebook page.
He explained that it is not merely about developing the Ukrainian railway operator, but also about an “ecosystem-based” decision, which should demonstrate Ukraine’s “unprecedented openness” to investments. The prime minister added that the details of the arrangement still need to be agreed on, but the “political decision” has already been made.
On January 22, Ukraine signed a memorandum of understanding with Deutsche Bahn. At the time, Honcharuk specified that Kyiv would retain complete control of Ukrainian Railways, and that the Germans would be involved in “reforming the company’s management mechanisms”.
Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Vladyslav Krykliy adder later that the managers of Deutsche Bahn are being invited as advisors, and that their status could be changed at a later stage. The German company’s press service described its involvement as “consulting”: “The engineering consulting company DB Engineering & Consulting, which is part of Deutsche Bahn… will be supporting and consulting Ukrainian Railways”.
In October, the Ukrainian Prime Minister said that the railway infrastructure in the country has been “virtually destroyed”. “The condition is critical, I mean very bad, really… This is also in part due to total corruption,” Honcharuk lamented. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure, the country contains a total of 19,800 km of railway lines, of which less than half (47.2%) is electrified