The government has adopted the resolution "On Implementation of a Pilot Project on allowing Private Locomotives to Operate on Certain Routes on Public Railways."

Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Vladyslav Kryklyi announced this after a government meeting on December 4.

According to him, the document stipulates that the Ministry of Infrastructure will determine the terms of the pilot project, the sections of the public railway infrastructure on which it will be implemented, and the participants in it. The participants in the pilot project will have to adhere to transport safety requirements.

According to Kryklyi, the Ministry of Infrastructure already has offers from companies to participate in the pilot project and business representatives have expressed their willingness to purchase the necessary rolling stock and train drivers.

"Allowing private locomotives to operate will partially solve Ukrzaliznytsia’s traction shortage problem, test how the rail transport market will function under conditions of operation of several rail carriers, determine the technical and technological aspects of access to the railway infrastructure, and allow a study of the organization of traffic safety during operation of private trains on the public railway network," Kryklyi said.

According to the Ministry of Infrastructure, the results of the pilot project will be taken into account during the drafting of by-laws for implementation of the provisions of the new rail transport law.

Meanwhile, no specific date has been provided for the start of implementation of the pilot project.

As reported earlier, the Ukrainian Railways joint-stock company (Ukrzaliznytsia) has said that it supports implementation of the task of liberalization of the railway traction market that was set by President Volodymyr Zelenskyi and the Cabinet of Ministers, although the company previously did everything possible to avoid practical implementation of the project.

Ferrexpo could be one of the participants in the pilot project. According to estimates by Ferrexpo, the company will need 10-12 powerful private locomotives for transporting pellets to the Pivdennyi seaport.

The DTEK Holding recently proposed an experiment involving introduction of private locomotives on a 69-kilometer railway stretch between the Zaporizhia thermal power plant and the Tavrichesk railway station. The company has already received the first locomotive for these purposes.

The Lemtrans company, which is the largest private railway operator in Ukraine, would like to implement a pilot project involving the use of private locomotives for transportation of coal on a 250-kilometer railway stretch.

“For ourselves, we are considering a pilot project for transportation of coal from the Pavlohrad central ore processing plant. We are considering the route between the Aromatna station and Energodar. Coal is transported from the Pavlohrad central ore processing plant to the Zaporizhia thermal power plant via this route. The distance is 250 kilometers. Today, our railcars that operate on this route complete the roundtrip in eight days. We expect to reduce the turnaround time to 4-5 days if we have our own traction on this route. As a result, we will be able to export more coal," said Lemtrans’ Development Director Dmytro Demydovych.