Three Seas Initiative secures millions of funding and invests in Bulgaria

The Three Seas Initiative fund secured 300 million US dollars in funding from the US International Development Finance Corporation. In this way, it can proceed with infrastructure investments starting with Bulgaria and the port of Burgas that can develop into a new gateway for North-South and East-West connectivity.

What is the Three Seas Initiative? The Three Seas Initiative (3SI) brings together 12 EU Member States between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas. It is all about boosting infrastructure investments in these countries from the Balkans all the way to central Europe and the Baltic sea.

The initiative aims to help these countries integrate with the rest of Europe investment-wise and catch up with infrastructure developments to create new transport corridors with a multimodal focus. This is why the 3SI Fund has already made investments in rail (Cargounit in Poland), renewable energy and assets and digitalisation.

300 million US dollars

3SI has been active for quite some time, focusing mainly on policy to create the right environment to launch its objectives and plans. Funding-wise it has made some critical investments; however, securing the 300 million US dollars funding from US-based DFC will be a gamechanger for the upcoming projects. “The investment from DFC would bring the 3SI Fund’s capital commitment to approximately 1,3 billion euros,” said a 3SI spokesperson.

First investment in Bulgaria

With substantial funding secured, the 3SI has already set its eyes on its priority projects. The organisation’s first investment is targeting the Bulgarian port of Burgas.

“The Port of Burgas is an important infrastructure asset connecting the Three Seas Region with Central Asia and the Middle East, strategically located on the Black Sea coast and is the closest European Union port to the Bosphorus. The Port of Burgas also acts as the primary maritime gateway to Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s most developed and industrialised cities, through direct rail connections. The investment will strengthen EU integration by decreasing infrastructural gaps and delivering broader economic benefits to the Region by improving connectivity and increasing the Port’s capacity,” explained 3SI.

What would an investment in the specific port mean? As the market has experienced during the last few months, alternative transport gateways in Southeastern Europe, like the port of Constanta in Romania, are trending and gradually gaining more importance. As a result, investing in the region and enabling more ports to undertake this role by also providing the needed infrastructure and connections in the European hinterland will set the floor for the future outlook of European transport, rail included.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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