Warnow Tunnel

Warnow Tunnel is located in the city of Rostock in north-eastern Germany.

About Warnow Tunnel

Location Rostock, Germany
Road opened 2003
Length 2.1 kilometres
Number of lanes Two lanes in each direction 
Tolling structure Tolling increases linked to pre-tax equity IRR
Toll collection Cash and electronic tolling
Concession expiry 12 September 2053
Factsheet Download Factsheet (.pdf)
Related Links Warnow Tunnel website

The Warnow Tunnel is a 2.1 kilometre toll road, including a 0.8 kilometre tunnel under the Warnow River, which opened to traffic in September 2003.

At the time of investment, Rostock was the largest of seven Baltic ports and the fourth largest German port. The road allows users to cross under the Warnow River which divides Rostock, with most residential areas located on the western side and most of the industrial areas on the eastern side of the river, including Rostock Port, a bulk goods terminal as well as a growing retail precinct.

MQA has a 70% interest in Warnowquerung GmbH & Co. KG (WQG), the concessionaire partnership, and its general partner, with the remaining 30% owned by Bouygues Travaux Publics SA.

Concessionaire ownership structure

Warnowquerung GmbH & Co. KG (WQG) owns the concession to operate Warnow Tunnel for 50 years from construction completion. A 20-year extension to the original 30-year concession was formally granted by the City of Rostock in February 2007, resulting in a concession expiry of 12 September 2053.

The Concessionaire is a limited partnership, with two limited partners, European Transport Investments (UK) Ltd (ETI) (100% owned by MQA) and Bouygues Travaux Publics SA (BTP).

ETI has a 70% equity interest in WQG and BTP has a 30% interest. BTP is a subsidiary of the French construction group Bouygues. Bouygues was the construction contractor and is a fellow sponsor of the project. The limited partners are the economic beneficiaries of the project.

WQG is managed by the general partner, Warnowquerung Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH. The general partner has unlimited liability and has also been capitalised by ETI and BTP in the ratio of 70:30.

MIG acquired its ownership interest in Warnow Tunnel in December 2000 through ETI, which was assumed by MQA on 2 February 2010 as part of the MIG demerger.

The Warnow Tunnel has two lanes in each direction. The main toll plaza, located on the eastern side of the tunnel, has five lanes in each direction plus one bi-directional lane (eleven in total). The bi-directional lane can switch directions to accommodate additional traffic volumes during peak periods. ETC is available in all 11 lanes, with two lanes dedicated to ETC only.

The road allows users to cross under the Warnow River which divides Rostock. Alternative options to cross the Warnow River include ferries, which take more than 15 minutes to complete the crossing, or a 19 kilometre journey via untolled roads through the Rostock central shopping precinct which can be subject to delays during peak periods.

There are five vehicle categories for the payment of tolls on the Warnow Tunnel as outlined in the below table.

ClassVehicle type
1 Passenger car, motorcycle
2 Minibus, small transporters
3 Truck (2-axle)
4 Truck (3-axle)
5 Truck (4-axle)
Coach (>16 seats)

Tolls for all five vehicle categories are set as a function of the base light vehicle toll. Seasonal tolling rates apply to cash payments and vary between winter and summer months, while ETC toll rates remain the same all year round. Refer to factsheet for further details.

Tolls for all five vehicle categories are set as a function of the base light vehicle toll.

Toll are set semi-annually in May and November using the below formula based on whether the forecast pre-tax equity IRR is:

  • > 25%: Tolls remain fixed
  • 17%–25%: Tolls may increase by CPI
  • < 17%: Tolls may increase by greater than CPI

Toll increases are subject to the joint approval of the Federal Ministry of Transport in Germany and the Supreme Highway Construction Authority of the Land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.



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