The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)


UNOPS and World Bank working together to get Ukraine’s railways back on track

The project will help restore Ukraine’s rail network with essential repair equipment.

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Ukraine's critical rail connections have been severely damaged due to the war, significantly hampering the transportation of goods. With air transport almost non-existent and sea shipments facing numerous challenges, rail transport has become the primary mode for cargo shipments. The need to restore and increase the freight capacity is paramount to ensure essential goods can reach businesses and communities.

Between December 2023 and June 2024, UNOPS has delivered over $7 million worth of equipment to Ukrainian Railways, the state-owned rail network operator, under the RELINC project. Funded by the World Bank, the project aims to restore critical rail connections and enhance freight capacity.

The importance of rail transport for Ukraine at this time cannot be overstated. It forms the backbone of the country’s economy, with business, industry and the population all depending on it. It weaves the country together and serves as its link to the world.

Tim Lardner - UNOPS Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia
Watch: Restoring Ukraine’s railway network

To date, the equipment delivered includes large construction vehicles – such as a mobile crane, excavators, wheel loaders and dump trucks – as well as smaller items including compressors and concreting equipment. These items are crucial for repairing damaged rail lines and infrastructure, ensuring the continuity of rail transport for cargo shipments to and from Ukraine.

“We recently received another shipment of equipment under the RELINC project funded by the World Bank … This is valuable support, especially in wartime, since we are dealing with a large amount of damage to railroads and bridges,” said Yurii Niemchykov, Director of Corporate Finance at Ukrainian Railways.

By July 2024, a further $1.5 million worth of equipment – including tractors, bulldozers, cement mixers and large cargo trucks – will also be delivered. Additionally, Ukrainian Railways will receive 200 new flatbed wagons worth $15 million, boosting its freight capacity. These wagons, currently in production, are platforms used to transport standardized shipping containers, further enhancing the efficiency and capacity of Ukraine's rail transport system.

This ongoing support from UNOPS and the World Bank is vital for Ukraine's recovery, ensuring that its rail network can sustain the increased demand for cargo transport and support the country's economic stability.

“Since the escalation of the war in 2022, the employees of Ukrainian Railways have performed incredible feats, managing to keep the system running and providing an essential service. UNOPS is proud to partner with the World Bank and its donors in supporting Ukraine’s transport network,” added Tim Lardner.

About this project

The ‘Repairing Essential Logistics Infrastructure and Network Connectivity’ (RELINC) project is a $50 million initiative in Ukraine funded by the World Bank’s Relief, Recovery, Reconstruction and Reform Trust Fund. Implemented by UNOPS, it aims to provide the State Agency for Restoration and Development of Infrastructure and the national railway operator Ukrainian Railways with the means to mitigate the impact of damaged transport networks on the country’s people and economy. This involves delivering a fleet of modular bridges for the Agency, expanding the rolling stock of Ukrainian Railways, and providing vehicles and equipment for railroad repairs. These interventions are expected to improve the resilience of critical logistics chains, which will in turn facilitate recovery and reconstruction.

According to a rapid damage and needs assessment, jointly prepared by the World Bank, the government of Ukraine, the European Commission and the United Nations (updated in February 2024), Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction needs as of the end of 2023 are estimated at $486 billion. 15 per cent of these needs (almost $74 billion) are in the transport sector, second only to housing. The costs – estimated within a period of 10 years – include measures required for lower energy intensity and more resilient, inclusive, and modern standards.

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