LTG Infra to build dual-purpose rail facility for military transport
Lithuanian infrastructure manager LTG Infra has launched a tender for the design of a new loading yard for military and civilian mobility in Kaunas. “We aim to contribute to ensuring military mobility in Lithuania by increasing the loading and unloading capacity of civil and/or military cargo at the Kaunas Palemonas railway station,” the company said. The facility is expected to be finished by the end of 2026, as LTG Infra told RailFreight.com.
The new dual-purpose facility will cover an area of 25,000 square metres. LTG Infra added that additional railway lines, noise-reducing walls, and the implementation of new security systems are also planned. Three new tracks will be built with a European gauge (1435 mm). For the upgrade of the facility, LTG Infra already received 13 million euros from the EU Military Mobility fund. Another 13 million will come from the governmental budget for a total of 26 million euros, LTG Infra added. The company stated that the contract and the winner of the tender will be signed during the third quarter of 2023.
As the Lithuanian IM highlighted, the new facility will boost the shift from road to rail when it comes to military transportation. Currently, the loading of military vehicles, oversized and bulk cargo, takes place at the Sestokai terminal, near the Lithuanian border with Poland. However, these cargo types are then transported by road. The new facility near Kaunas will therefore provide a rail connection for these services to the heart of Lithuania, providing additional capacity as well.
The Baltics at the centre of the EU Military Mobility fund
The terminal in Palemonas is already somewhat accustomed to the transportation of military equipment. In May 2022, US troops loaded their military equipment at the facility for the first time as part of the EU Military Mobility fund. In April 2022, the European Union allocated 160 million euros via the fund to improve rail infrastructure for military and civilian purposes.
When it comes to the Baltic States, Estonia was granted 31 million euros for the enhancement of the rail connection to the country’s largest military base in Tapa. Latvia received 5 million euros to integrate the military mobility requirements in the Latvian part of the Rail Baltica project.
With the 13 million given to Lithuania, the Baltic States received almost one-third of the funds made available by the EU Military Mobility program last spring. In December 2022, the total investment in the Military Mobility fund was increased from 330 to 616 million euros. However, it is not clear if this translated to increased investment specifically for rail as well.