The Orient/East-Med Corridor runs between Hamburg and Bremen in Germany and Thessaloniki and Varna in Greece and, respectively, Bulgaria. In North Macedonia, the Corridor includes an 89 km-long rail section between Kumanovo and the border with Bulgaria as well as another 103km-long rail section between Kicevo and Skopje. Plans to develop this route date back to the nineteenth century, with various segments built and/or overhauled until 2004 when all construction ceased because of a substantial shortage in funding.
The WBIF has provided more than €82 million in grant support for technical assistance as well as construction/rehabilitation works, out of which €70 million in EU grant contribution for the construction of 34 km of railway track on the Beljakovce – Kriva Palanka section and the rehabilitation of 2 railway stations and 3 halts. The planned development includes several railway bridges and over/underpasses, 5.5 km-long tunnels and new signalling and telecommunication systems. Once complete, the new railway interconnection will shorten the railway link between North Macedonia and the Black Sea by approximately 200 km.
The WBIF has financed technical assistance for studies as well as supervision of works associated with the planned and/or ongoing investments on Rail Corridor VIII in the country, as follows:
|National Contribution||Own Contribution||€ 8,831,000|
|Italy||External Grant||€ 525,000|
|National Contribution Beljakovce - Kriva Palanka||Own Contribution||€ 1,000,000|
|EBRD||External Grant||€ 3,430,185|
|Total Grants||€ 78,290,131|
|Total Loans||€ 191,400,000|