A great part of the Durres-Kukes highway will be given as concession to a private company, specialized in highway maintenance. Starting from Milot to Rreshen, the segment built with World Bank funds,
and then from Rreshen to Kalimash and Morina. In other words, the
entire motorway that passes through these areas will have a payment fee
to pass through. The quantity of this fee is not yet been assigned.
“Shqip” newspaper is following a part of the project that the Albanian government has with IFC, a World Bank branch, by interviewing experts who have been contracted for the realization of this project.
When was the agreement signed with the Albanian Transport Ministry, what are its specifications?
The agreement between the Albanian government and ICF was signed on January 2011.
Our goal is to help the government by organizing a transparent and competitive tender process, which will chose the private company qualified enough to improve and maintain the highway, based on best international practices.
IFC, member of the World Bank Group, has a known experience as main adviser in public-private infrastructure partnerships, thanks to experience in different countries and its reputation for impartiality and transparence.
The mission of IFC is promoting stable investments of the private sector in developing countries.
How was this agreement achieved? Have you had earlier contacts for the project? What was ICF reaction when received the request for its implementation?
The government asked IFC to help them in choosing the private operator for the highway. IFC has had no previous contacts with the Albanian government regarding Milot-Morina segment.
However, the World Bank (IBRD) has financed the construction of Milot-Rreshen segment.
After taking in consideration the possible positive effect of this project in Albania, we agreed to sign an agreement and help the government.
What will be the price of the fee? What kind of procedure does IFC follow for finding the right formula, and how will the project be implemented.
IFC is doing a general study for seeing the possibilities on how could this highway get improved; be functional and maintained; and how could the toll fee be a possible solution. We haven’t reached a final conclusion and the level of this fee is not assigned yet.
This will be assigned after some months, following the analyses of the proposed project, interviews on the road with casual drivers, will analyze the possibilities of this fee and the readiness to pay it. We will also compare these results with the best international practices.
In which segments will this fee be applied? Will the tunnel have a special fee?
The question here is not about the place where the fee will be paid, but for which segment; for the tunnel, the highway or both. It is still early to say in which segment the tax will be implemented. IFC is studying some options. After having them analyzed, we will present the recommendations to the Albanian government, which will take the final verdict.
Valuing the investment of the Rreshen-Kalimash road with at least 1 billion USD, calculations say that for the maintenance are needed 20 million USD each year. Have you taken these data into consideration? Will this income be realized with the toll fees, based on the traffic?
It is too early to give an exact number for the annual maintenance expenses, and making the road function. We must take in consideration not only the construction expense, but also the service quality that the private operator will have to offer.
One option is that the highway maintenance will be covered by the toll fees.
The income needed for covering the maintenance will be clear after the assessment will be complete.
When will this project be over, and when will toll fees be established?
Based on the results and on the government decision, the private operator will undertake the maintenance of the road before winter 2012. The final idea for this tax has not been given yet, as we said.