DENMARK - The private sector is set to play a far greater role in the long-term task of building and improving Denmark's roads, bridges and railways, as a result of recommendations by the country's Infrastructure Commission.

The commission, headed by Birgit Aagaard-Svendsen, today published a major report outlining a broad plan to revamp the nation's transport system between now and 2030, proposing how the billions of kroner to be spent on the traffic network should be prioritised.

Future infrastructure planning should focus more on different types of organisation, including public-private partnerships (PPPs), the report said.

The aim should be for greater focus on perspectives in overall planning, and alternative types of organisation, "including the management and organisational advantages of public-private partnerships, with a view to ensuring the most cost-effective planning and implementation of projects."

Several Danish pension funds, including PensionDanmark, AP Pension and ATP, have recently expressed their interest in investing in Danish infrastructure projects, should the opportunity arise. (See earlier IPE story: Danish pensions eye local infrastructure)

The report said: "The Infrastructure Commission believes there is potential to get further gains in efficiency and value for money by involving private experience in the public management of tasks to a greater degree than is the case today.

"The advantages to be gained from, for example, PPP models, lie in the fact that more involvement of private parties creates incentives to carry out an overall evaluation of the project, including a more effective arrangement of planning phases and the subsequent operating phase.

"International experiences show that more involvement of private parties can help keep projects within time and budgetary limits," the report went on.

Among its recommendations, was a call for all-inclusive contracts and partnerships to be used in comparatively simple projects. The commission said there should also be a systematic evaluation of which projects might be suitable for private players, and some concrete PPP pilot projects should be carried out.

Transport planners should draw on experiences of PPP in other countries, it said.

Among projects which could be considered for PPPs were the Århus light railway link, a road connection to the east of the Copenhagen area, for example, in the form of a harbour tunnel, and a new link over Roskilde Fjord, the commission said.

It also called for a PPP council to be established, bringing in expertise from both the private and public sectors, to work to increase the profile and use PPPs.

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