By Olga Rosca
Millions of people in rural Ukraine will benefit from transformed postal and delivery services thanks to a €63 million(US$74.69million) loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to UkrPoshta, the national postal service.
EBRD Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, Matteo Patrone said: “We are living in a digital era, but postal and delivery services remain a necessity. I welcome UkrPoshta’s ambition for a dramatic transformation that will allow 15 million people in rural Ukraine to use fast, convenient and reliable postal services.”
The EBRD loan will finance the modernisation of the company’s logistics infrastructure and its operating fleet and will be provided in three tranches. The third tranche of €10 million will be subject to the achievement of key milestones financed by the first two tranches.
The investment programme includes the acquisition and equipping of new postal vans that will act as mobile post offices, replacing old bricks-and-mortar branches in rural areas.
It also envisages an overhaul of the logistics network through the development of automated, environmentally friendly sorting hubs and depots. The European Investment Bank is co-financing the construction of the sorting infrastructure with a €30 million loan.
The new facilities will be built in line with BREEAM, the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects, infrastructure and buildings. The assessment will be co-funded by the European Union under its EU4Climate initiative as part of the Finance and Technology Transfer Centre for Climate Change (FINTECC) programme.
Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, Vladyslav Kryklii said: “Ukrposhta continues to implement this year’s large-scale investment programme to modernise the logistics network and reform rural branches, in cooperation with the EBRD. This work will allow us to create new logistics centres with modern sorting equipment and to provide people with faster and more convenient services. Reforming the network of rural branches and introducing up to 1,900 modern mobile branches in the near future will enable full service coverage throughout the country, even in remote areas. I am grateful to the EBRD for the continued support and cooperation in implementing these important projects for Ukraine.”
UkrPoshta General Director, Igor Smelyansky said: “Despite the challenges of 2020, this year has seen a record level of infrastructure investment for Ukrposhta. As part of our modernisation strategy, we are attracting approximately €100 million for the construction of eight automated sorting hubs, 62 regional depots and the replenishment of the fleet, using loans from the EBRD and the EIB as well as Ukrposhta’s own investments. This is a major overhaul in the work of the national postal operator and it will transform the company’s operating model.”
As part of its cooperation with the EBRD, UkrPoshta also aims to advance anti-corruption reform and enhance good governance. Relevant action plans will be developed with grant funding from EBRD Ukraine Stabilisation and Sustainable Growth Multi-Donor Account
(Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union, the largest donor).
The effort is part of the EBRD’s work with the Ukrainian government to improve the corporate governance of state-owned enterprises and help prevent corruption.
The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Ukraine. To date, the Bank has made a cumulative commitment of almost €14.5 billion through 482 projects in the country.