The first green loan on a public-private partnership (PPP) transport project in Australia has been executed.

In a statement, Canberra Metro announced that a $280 million loan with which it has refinanced its debt facility through which it delivered the first stage of the Canberra Light Rail project has been certified as a green loan under the Climate Bond Initiative.

Part of a broader development which will connect Canberra’s north, east, south, west and airport with its CBD over several decades, the first stage of the project opened last year and connects Gungahlin in the north with the CBD via a 12 kilometre track.

It was delivered by the Canberra Metro Consortium (see below), which was contracted by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government to design, build, operate and maintain the route.

From a sustainability viewpoint, the project is targeting zero net carbon emission in construction and operations.

As part of this, all electricity needed to run the light rail vehicles as well as to power maintenance and administration buildings is sourced from renewables.

Other initiatives include:

  • Harvesting of rainwater from the track to water trees and plants along the route.
  • Reduced volumes of concrete and steel needed in construction of the track slab through use of fibreglass reinforcing material rather than traditional steel reinforcement. Glass fibre reinforcing is one quarter of the weight of steel with double the tensile strength.
  • Use of eco-friendly materials and end of life recycling materials in construction of the light rail vehicles.
  • Dedicated spaces for bicycles on-board each light rail vehicle.

The project has achieved certification as a green loan under the Low Carbon Transport Criteria as part of the Climate Bond Initiative, through which investments are certified to meet specific environmental criteria.

To obtain the loan, the consortium was assisted by financial advisor and green structural advisor MUFG along with arranger banks ANZ, CBA, ING, Mizuho, NAB and SMBC.

The Canberra Metro consortium includes Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, John Holland Group, UGL, Mitsubishi Corporation, Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, DB Engineering & Consulting (formerly Deutsche Bahn International), CAF and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Ltd (MUFG).

Image source: Canberra Metro web site

Canberra Metro chief executive officer Lachlan Marks welcomed the loan’s execution.

“As CEO of Canberra Metro, I’m immensely proud to have secured this source of funding for our climate resilient project that ultimately makes the business more effective, secure and durable,” Marks said.

”In the face of the climate shifts to come, strengthening resilience factors across all facets of investment decision-making and business operations will help improve lives and livelihoods for generations to come.

ACT Minister for Transport Chris Steel said the project has demonstrated what is possible in public transport projects from a sustainability viewpoint.


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