The Ukrainian Railways joint-stock company (JSC Ukrzaliznytsia) is due to select a supplier of freight electric locomotives in 2019, and this is one of the company’s key tasks this year.

JSC Ukrzaliznytsia’s Board Chairman Yevhen Kravtsov announced this at a news briefing at the Ministry of Infrastructure, the CFTS correspondent reports.

According to him, the company will need 450-500 new freight electric locomotives in the coming years. "UAH 80 billion is the total amount of investment in it," he said.

He also said that localization of production of such locomotives remained a pressing issue. JSC Ukrzaliznytsia expects the level of localization to reach 50%.

As the CFTS portal reported earlier, JSC Ukrzaliznytsia has announced plans to test Chinese and French electric locomotives (manufactured by the CRRC and Alstom companies, respectively) in the first or second quarter of 2019. According to JSC Ukrzaliznytsia’s Director of Investment Policy and Strategic Development Anton Sabolevskyi, the tests will be conducted on the busiest sections of JSC Ukrzaliznytsia’s rail network.

Asked about the sources of funds for financing possible purchases of foreign-made electric locomotives, Sabolevskyi said that funding "will be external. There is really no money inside the company."

JSC Ukrzaliznytsia stated in 2016 that it would be necessary to purchase 440 freight electric locomotives (230 direct-current, 160 alternating-current, and 50 dual-power locomotives) and 20 passenger electric locomotives by 2025. Investments amounted to UAH 72 billion in 2016. Kravtsov said at the end of 2018 that the company was considering purchasing 400-700 electric locomotives over the next 10 years. "For us, the priority for the end of this year and for next year is to determine the future of the electric locomotive fleet. It is currently one of the largest markets in the 1520-mm-gauge space. Most of the railways have either been upgraded or are in the process of being upgraded. We will organize an open tender after determining the technical characteristics," he said.

As the CFTS portal reported, the Alstom company has repeatedly stressed that the degree of localization of production of electric locomotives in Ukraine will depend on how the relevant project is financed. "Of course, we will consider the possibility of assembling locomotives in Ukraine if there is funding. Such a possibility cannot be discarded. In addition, much will depend on the country that provides the funds. For example, if France or Germany is the source of funds, a certain part of the product should be manufactured in these countries," Alstom's Managing Director for Western and Central Asia Bernard Peille told the CFTS portal.

"The degree of localization is highly dependent on the financing terms. When a country requests financing from another, the other country– France, for example – demands that a significant part of the production should take place in France. However, we are exploring opportunities and looking for potential partners in Ukraine to allow part of the work to be done in your country," Alstom’s Senior Vice President for Europe Gian Luca Erbacci said.