The State Railway Administration (Ukrzaliznytsia) is ready to guarantee annual purchases of 35-40 locomotives from a joint venture between Skoda Transportation (Czech Republic) and the Zaporozhe electric locomotive plant if the joint venture is established. Infrastructure Minister Andrii Pyvovarskyi announced this in an interview with RBK-Ukraine.

According to him, he has held a meeting with representatives of the Czech company and confirmed the Ukrainian side’s interest in the project. However, according to him, Ukraine is currently not willing to invest USD 20 million in the plant, as previously stipulated.

"I explained my vision to the Czechs. We are ready to guarantee purchase of 35-40 locomotives per year through Ukrzaliznytsia. But they themselves must invest money in production because it is a funny situation - we are providing the site and investing considerable resources while they provide only the technology, create the traction rolling stock, sell it, and receive the profit," said Pyvovarskyi.

"But we see the cooperation in another way... Let them go to the enterprise, invest, hire Ukrainian staff, and pay taxes. The Ukrainian state does not provide anything, does not invest anything, and Ukrzaliznytsia only guarantees placement of orders," the minister added.

He also said that Ukrzaliznytsia would not organize operations exclusively with Skoda and that it was inviting other businesses to cooperate with it. "Ukrzaliznytsia must replace more than 1,200 electric locomotives and more than 1,000 diesel locomotives in the coming years. These volumes are of interest to all the global players in the market of traction rolling stock. With this volume of purchase, we are fundamental in establishment of production of traction rolling stock in our country," the minister said.

"They have gone to think about it," Pyvovarskyi said, referring to the outcome of his meeting with representatives of Skoda Transportation.

As reported, Ukrzaliznytsia and Skoda Transportation completed the development of the technical design specifications for future production of dual-system passenger electric locomotives for operation in Ukraine in September 2013. They announced that 480 electric locomotives were planned for production during implementation of the project, including 50 dual-system passenger locomotives, 330 single-system passenger locomotives, and 100 dual-system freight locomotives. The proportion of Ukrainian components used in the production of the electric components is expected to be increased to 90%.

In November 2014, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine permitted Skoda Transportation and the Zaporozhe electric locomotive plant to create a Ukrainian-Czech plant called Zaporozhe Electric Locomotive in Zaporozhe.