KAZAKHSTAN Railways (KTZ), and its KTZ Freight Transportation and KTZ Passenger divisions, have signed a loan agreement in Paris with a syndicate of banks, including Société Générale and Natixis, to fund an order for 105 electric freight and passenger locomotives from Alstom’s Electric Locomotive Construction Plant (EKZ) in Astana.

The aim of the agreement is to reduce the shortage of electric locomotives available to haul passenger and freight services over the KTZ network and to improve the quality of freight services for domestic customers. It is expected that the locomotives will be delivered by EKZ from 2023 to 2029.

The credit agreement was concluded with the support of France’s Ministry of Finance and the state export credit agency BPI France, which acted as insurer for the loan. The interest rate for the loan is Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor) +1.15% and the loan term is up to 14 years with a grace period.

EKZ was originally set up in 2010 by Alstom with a 25% stake, its Russian partner Transmashholding (TMH) holding 25% and KTZ with 50%. In 2016 Alstom purchased 25% of KTZ’s shareholding, and the remaining 25% in 2017.

Last month Kazakhstan’s prime minister, Mr Älihan Smaiylov, outlined plans for the delivery of locomotives, passenger coaches and wagons to increase the KTZ fleet. This included a planned fleet order for 245 electric locomotives to be supplied by Alstom in 2023-2029.

This followed the signing of a cooperation agreement between KTZ and Alstom in November 2022 to develop the next generation of KTZ’s electric locomotive fleet, the KZ8A (NG).

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