Locomotive agreement between Ukraine and France marks integration into EU transport system

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Alstom and Ukrainian Railways have signed a memorandum of cooperation, which includes the supply of 130 new electric and dual-system locomotives. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Ukraine last week to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Under the presidential gaze, Oleksandr Kamyshyn, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ukrainian Railways, and Henri Pupar-Lafarge, CEO of Alstom, signed the cooperation protocol, negotiated since 2018. Their agreement includes the supply of 130 new locomotives from the French. to the Ukrainian national railway operator, including 50 AC-powered electric locomotives and 80 dual-system locomotives that can run on both AC and DC power.

Their agreement is the result of a three-year negotiation between the two parties and is part of “a broader package of Franco-Ukrainian macro-financial support”, said the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure. Coming in a “turbulent time” for Ukraine, as Oleksandr Kamyshyn put it, this cooperation could also be a clear political statement.

Fleet overhaul

“The signed agreement will allow us to obtain the electric locomotives that we so badly need under the best possible conditions in today’s turbulent times. The use of Ukrainian companies and specialists in construction and maintenance machinery will also bring a unique experience to Ukraine. There is still a lot of work to be done to discuss the technical details, but most of the negotiations are behind us,” Oleksandr Kamyshin said.

In addition to the macro-financial support program between France and Ukraine, the renewal of the fleet will also contribute to Ukraine’s “Major construction” program, which includes the modernization of infrastructure and the overhaul of the country’s locomotive fleet since 95 % of it is worn. But is that all?

Ukraine is getting closer to Europe

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov provided a clear answer. “It’s not just an agreement on the supply of locomotives – it’s the integration of Ukraine into the economic system and the transport network of the European Union,” he said. Given the “turbulent times” Ukraine finds itself in, this could indeed be much more than a purchase deal.

By strengthening its ties with France, one of the main members of the EU and NATO, Ukraine is sending clear signals to Russia. The Eastern European country shows its pro-EU intentions and commitment to Western economic and transport alliances while France simultaneously signals its support for the country.

This article first appearance on sister title RailFreight.com

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