The World Bank has announced a new USD-50-million project to repair and restore Ukraine’s transport network to support immediate humanitarian relief and recovery and increase the capacity of import and export corridors.

The World Bank announced this in a statement, the CFTS portal reports.

According to the statement, the Ukraine Relief, Recovery, Reconstruction and Reform Trust Fund (URTF) provides the grant financing for this project, with additional funding of up to USD 535 million envisaged to follow soon.

The Repairing Essential Logistics Infrastructure and Network Connectivity (RELINC) project will help to restore essential bridges and railways to re-link communities and improve westward transport linkages to mitigate the impacts of Black Sea shipping disruptions, the statement said.

Specifically, according to the statement, the project will support the purchase of modular bridges, equipment, and materials to repair damaged road-to-bridge connections and vital rail lines urgently. It will also help to finance the purchase of flatbed wagons and additional rolling stock to expand the railway’s capacity to move cargo in containers.

"Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to have devastating economic and humanitarian consequences. Ukraine needs urgent investments to repair damaged essential transport routes. This project will support the delivery of aid and essential services to communities directly affected by the war. It will boost the economy in Ukraine and beyond by facilitating transport and trade. We are grateful to our donors and partners for their continued support, generosity, and collaboration," said World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Anna Bjerde.

According to World Bank estimates, upwards of 2,100 villages, 51 towns, and 35 cities in areas that have returned to Ukrainian government control are experiencing disrupted transport networks due to war. Direct damage to Ukraine’s transport network is extensive, totaling more than USD 29.9 billion, and economic losses from disrupted transport total an additional USD 26.1 billion as of 1 June 2022.

According to the statement, this investment supports and is part of the World Bank’s contribution to the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes initiative.

The project will better align Ukraine’s rail lines to EU logistics chains and support agricultural exports through EU ports, thereby strengthening westward linkages that will bolster Ukraine’s economy and restore services to its population.

It will also help to lay the groundwork for the country to build a more modern, low-carbon, climate-resilient, and inclusive economy that is more closely aligned with European standards.

The project has a flexible design that allows funds to be disbursed quickly, can be scaled as necessary, and can absorb additional financing as it becomes available.

The World Bank set up the URTF to coordinate grant financing for sustaining Ukraine’s government functions, delivering services, and implementing relief efforts. The URTF is a flexible platform that allows the World Bank to prioritize and channel funding to the most urgent development needs identified by the Ukrainian government, with current contributions from Austria, Iceland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.