UK to provide €2.1bn to fund high-speed electric railway line in Turkey
The government is guaranteeing a €2.1bn (£1.8bn) loan for a high-speed electric railway line in Turkey with major contracts being awarded to UK firms.
UK Export Finance, which supports overseas projects, said nine-figure contracts will be awarded to UK rail suppliers as a condition of UK support.
It is the UK’s biggest ever sustainable, civil infrastructure deal and it will help Turkey finance major climate-friendly projects and meet its COP26 commitments.
It is the first UK-supported rail transaction in Turkey for over 160 years, and forms part of Turkey’s plan to transform high-speed rail in the country.
The new 503km electric-powered railway line will connect Ankara, Turkey’s capital, to the port-side city of Izmir. When complete, the new line will provide a faster, lower-carbon alternative to current air and road routes between the two cities.
UK companies are expected to supply British-made railway lines, point machines, fasteners, material and equipment for signalling, telecommunication and electrification systems, as well as insurance and freight services.
International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Turkey is a vital trading partner for the UK. Our shared global outlook on free trade and the environment is the driving force behind economic growth in our two nations.
“It is fitting that UK Export Finance’s biggest ever civil infrastructure deal is strongly sustainable. This is a proud moment for the UK railway industry, using its industrial roots to reduce emissions in heavily polluted cities.”
Turkey is a major trading partner for the UK – its bilateral trading relationship was worth around £17.5bn in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2021, increasing by £1.4bn from the same period in 2020.
Engineering and construction giant ERG International Group is using its close ties with the UK supply chain to support the project.
The financing was led by Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered Bank with support from UK Export Finance.
Neil Walker, exports director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA), welcomed the announcement. “This is clearly a significant boost for both the UK railway industry, showing it has world-leading products and expertise which can export across the globe, and for the wider Global Britain agenda,” he said.
“RIA is proud to have played a part, helping ERG to source UK rail suppliers who will be vital to building this ground-breaking, sustainable, transport project. We should also acknowledge and thank colleagues in the Department for International Trade and at UK Export Finance, for their ongoing support for rail exporters, and we look forward to continuing to work with them, to promote UK rail businesses to partners overseas.”
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