The Solidarity Lanes, established by the European Commission and EU-bordering countries in May, are essential routes for facilitating the export and import of Ukraine's agricultural commodities as well as other goods.
The Lanes serve as alternatives to routes via Black Sea ports, which have been partially reopened but are not operating at their full pre-war capacity.
Last week the European Commission announced that it has mobilised €1 billion to boost funding for the Solidarity Lanes. The EBRD’s investment, as part of that mobilisation, reflects the common priorities of the Bank and the Commission in supporting Ukraine’s economy and access to food for countries that rely on Ukraine’s exports.
Ukraine is one of the world's largest grain producers and in normal times supplied around 45 million tonnes of grain to the global market every year. However, as a result of Russia’s war, Ukraine’s exports and agricultural sectors have been severely impacted, leading to high cereal prices and global food insecurity.
As part of its commitment, the EBRD is prioritising investment in road, rail and other infrastructure. This includes investment and support for projects in Ukraine, Moldova, Poland and Romania.
The Bank has already supported Moldova in streamlining its transport network, with a €100 million loan to improve and extend its road network up to the Ukrainian border. Together with the Commission, the EBRD is now preparing to finance an urgently needed upgrade to the railway network. The network is essential to transport goods from Odesa to Moldovan, Romanian and Ukrainian river ports.
In Poland, there is significant need for a coordinated upgrade of rail transhipment capacity at the border with Ukraine and to expand capacity at Baltic Sea ports. To this end, the Bank has supported expansion of the port at Gdansk.
In Ukraine, investment is needed to address border crossing bottlenecks and improve connectivity with the European Union. The EBRD is thus preparing a financial package for Ukrainian Railways which will be partly invested in resolving these problems.
The Bank intends to invest €300 million by the end of 2023 in the Solidarity Lanes, with part of that funding going to projects already identified and in the process of being approved.
The EBRD is also considering additional urgent investments in key port and railway infrastructure as well as in the expansion of silo capacity. It will work with the Commission and other international institutions such as the European Investment Bank and the World Bank Group to coordinate efforts and to sustain and further increase the capacity of Solidarity Lanes.
Overall, in Ukraine the EBRD is supporting trade, energy and food security, vital infrastructure and the pharmaceuticals industry, and has committed to investing up to €3 billion in the country in 2022-23.
The EBRD was swift to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February and pledged to stand by Ukraine. In early April, the EBRD’s Board of Governors voted to suspend open-endedly the access of Russia and Belarus to EBRD finance and expertise, and the Bank has closed its offices in Russia and Belarus.
In addition to a resilience package for Ukraine and neighbouring countries affected by the war, the EBRD has pledged to help finance Ukraine’s reconstruction once conditions permit.