A contract with SWECO Projekt AS for the design of Rail Baltica’s largest and only port-connected freight station was concluded today, its construction due to begin in early 2022.
“By signing the contract for design, we took a major step forward both in the development of Rail Baltica and the cargo harbour of Muuga. Reaching this agreement was a lengthy process preceded by a number of analyses and consideration of a variety of scenarios in cooperation with the Port of Tallinn, national railway Eesti Raudtee, and the operators working in Muuga Harbour,” stated Tõnu Grünberg, CEO of Rail Baltic Estonia.
Grünberg says Muuga freight station will be one of the key sites of Rail Baltica: the unique combination of infrastructures which is to emerge there will allow goods to be transhipped from marine transport or road transport to railway means of transport of varying width and vice versa. “This condition will also contribute to a smoother transhipment of goods from roads to the railroad, especially for medium and long-distance transportation in providing services for the exchange of goods between Central Europe and Southern Europe,” Grünberg added.
Five tenders were received for the design procurement announced in May this year. SWECO Projekt AS was awarded the contract for the tender it had submitted.
“Designing a freight station with railways 1435 mm and 1520 mm in width, which are to be functioning simultaneously, is an interesting challenge that we will gladly accept,” said Keijo Vaher, CEO of SWECO Projekt AS. “Our cooperation with experts from Sweco Infra&Rail Oy, Finland, ensures the availability of extensive and the best attainable know-how for the completion of a design solution which would meet the most modern requirements. The design of the Rail Baltica freight station will become an excellent addition to the portfolio of works carried out by Sweco for Muuga Harbour over several decades,” Vaher added.
In addition to the representatives of RB Estonia and SWECO Projekt AS, other parties to have attended today’s ceremonial contract signing event were Ando Leppiman, chancellor of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications; Valdo Kalm, chairman of the board at the Port of Tallinn; and Andrus Kimber, member of the board at AS Eesti Raudtee.
“The Rail Baltica connection will create an entirely new dimension in the logistics chain of Estonia and the whole Baltic Sea region as well as potential for the growth of the amount of goods exchange and passenger transportation”, Valdo Kalm said. “The initial stage of the construction of Muuga freight station in the form of design works is a positive signal to international logistics groups which will already be able to include the emergence of Rail Baltica in their plans for the future.”
Within the Rail Baltica project, around 35 km of new 1435 mm gauge railways will be designed for Muuga Harbour; in addition, approximately 11 km of 1520 mm gauge railways will be relocated and constructed. The designer of Muuga freight station will also be responsible for the design of the freight station buildings, connections between the terminals, and the related infrastructure (railway tunnels, overhead lines, traffic management systems, control centre, rolling stock maintenance depot).
The designing process is to last from September 2020 to the 2nd quarter of 2022 while the beginning of the first stage of the construction has been planned for early 2022. The entire construction of the Muuga freight station of Rail Baltica is to be completed by the end of 2025. Today, Muuga Harbour houses nearly thirty operators of terminals that will be to a different extent affected by the solutions being designed.
Within the first years after the completion of Rail Baltica, 4–5 million tonnes of goods per year are estimated to pass through the multimodal freight terminal in Muuga. The analysis performed by Civitta Eesti AS and Deutsche Bahn Engineering & Consulting GmbH in 2018 shows that the said amounts might even double in 20 years, and then 8–10 million tonnes of goods per year will be handled in the most important cargo harbour of Estonia.
The cost of the design works is 2.175 million euros (+ VAT), which will be financed from the funds of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF I).
Rail Baltica is an environmentally friendly and convenient railway connection which will link Estonia to its southern neighbours and Central Europe. The infrastructure under construction will allow passengers to get from Tallinn to Pärnu in 40 minutes, and to Riga, in 2 hours.