The FINANCIAL — Tbilisi Electric-Wagon-Repairing Factory has completed the USD 5 million order of Georgian Railway (GR) and presented its new electric train. This is the fifth train wagon included in the contract between the factory and GR.
“Georgian Railway appreciates the quality service that it received. For this reason this year we are going to make a new order worth GEL 19.5 million (USD 11.7 million). The contract entails making 3 totally new passenger units and modernizing 8 other ones. These units are for regional routes. The entire renovation process will be completed by the end of 2009,” says Irakli Ezugbaia, General Director of Georgian Railway.
The General Director of GR told reporter Levan Lomtadze, the FINANCIAL, that the operations were successful in 2008 and he looks toward 2009 with optimism.
“Despite the economic crisis and the Russian attacks on Georgia our company retains its entire staff at their current positions. None of the 15,440 employees were laid off or sent on leave. After the income tax was decreased from 25% to 20%, we decided to direct this money to our staff members, thus their salaries increased by 5%. Last year our salary budget was GEL 109 million (USD 65 million), whereas in 2009 it increased to GEL 116 million (USD 70 million).”
“The planned capacity of freight for 2009 is equal to GEL 101 million (USD 61 million). Currently we are handling GEL 60 million worth of orders and the other USD 41 million will start after the tender procedures are completed.”
In 2008 GR realized GEL 86 million (USD 52 million) capital costs as direct investment, while the budget fee exceeded GEL 100 million (USD 60 million). For the current year GR plans to mobilize GEL 81 million (USD 48.5) as the budget fee.
“We also provide medical insurance for our employee’s families, in total 50,000 people. According to the agreement of the railway’s top management and Trade Union of Railway-Men GEL 600 will be provided to every newborn child in the family of the railway worker,” Ezugbaia adds.
The Government of Georgia is the 100% shareholder of “The Georgian Railway” LLC. Its authorities are carried out by the legal entity under public law “The Enterprise Management Agency”. Privatization of shares and management of authorization is carried out by the Ministry of Economic Development of Georgia. The managing bodies of GR are The Assembly of Partners, Supervisory Board and the Board of Directors.
Georgian Railway is a vital artery linking the Black and the Caspian Seas and is an important part of the Euro-Asian Transportation Corridor – the shortest route between Europe and Central Asia, the north and the south. The concept of a rail-link between them originates back to the 30’s of the 19th century, but its realization began only in 1865. In 1871 the railway operation at Poti-Kvirila (present Zestafoni) was started and in 1872, on October 10 the first passenger train from Poti arrived in Tbilisi. This vary date is regarded the ‘birthday’ of the Georgian Railway.
Currently the exploitation length of the mainline of the Georgian Railway is 13,239 km. It includes 1,422 bridges, 32 tunnels, 22 passenger and 114 freight stations.
Georgian Railway provides service by railway transport, passenger and freight traffic, research to discover new lines and targets, designing and constructing, deliberate utilization and management of the existing material assets.
According to Irakli Ezugbaia in 2009 capital repair of passenger and freight cars will be realized, investments in Georgian industries will extend and contracts will be preceded, particularly with carriage-building and car repair factories. Overhaul reconditioning of passenger cars is also planned.
The freight traffic of GR in 2007, 2008 and 2009 was 22 million, 21.3 million and 22.3 million tonnes. Compared with last year, in 2009 freight traffic will increase by approximately 5%.
“This year not only main-line trains but also local trains will be put in motion. Solid investments will be put into the renewal of locomotives. A new administration building of the railway is projected and construction is close to beginning. Solid investments will be put into the rehabilitation of the main track,” he says.
“Poti Station is in the process of reconstruction. 4 railway bridges will be thoroughly overhauled, where Georgian workers and Georgian companies will be employed. Capital repair of Kutaisi station will be completed this year. All of what I’ve already mentioned will promote professional growth of the employees and provide additional profit during the economic downturn.”
Written By Levan Lomtadze