Sunday, March 3, 2024

Steel from Scunthorpe could be used in 500km Turkish high-speed rail project

Steel rails from Scunthorpe could be part of the UK government’s biggest ever sustainable, civil infrastructure deal that’s to help finance a high speed electric railway line in Turkey, with major contracts awarded to British and Turkish businesses.

The EUR2.1 billion green financing will be guaranteed by UK Export Finance, through its Buyer Credit Scheme, with Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered structuring and coordinating banks arranging the transaction.

This 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 the capital Ankara to the huge 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, helping to fulfil Turkey’s climate change commitments made at COP26.

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 one of the UK’s most important independent trading partners. The bilateral trading relationship was worth £17.5 billion in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2021, increasing by £1.4 billion from the same period in 2020.

The deal will secure major contracts for UK companies of all sizes to supply to the project, with several nine-figure deals for UK companies close to being agreed. Engineering and construction giants ERG International Group is using its close ties with the UK supply chain to support the project. UK companies are expected to supply British-made railway lines, turnouts, point machines, fasteners, material and equipment for signaling, telecommunication and electrification systems, as well as vital insurance and freight services.

The financing was led by Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered Bank with support from UK Export Finance and meets internationally recognised sustainability standards and is aligned with the Green Loan Principles. Reinsurance is also being provided by international export credit agencies such as SACE in Italy, SERV in Switzerland and OeKB in Austria, reducing the risk to the UK taxpayer.

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