During a meeting between Latvian Railway and Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics, the two sides discussed topical problems in the industry to assist with development. LDz and BATL agreed to cooperate more closely in order to resolve matters significant to the development of the transit industry.
«LDz has been emphasizing the importance of competitive solutions within the business environment for years. Unfortunately, while the cargo turnover flow remained sufficient, this matter was not being addressed enough. One and a half years ago, when Europe and Russia first exchanged mutual sanctions against one another, we had carried out a survey in cooperation with Ernst & Young. Results showed that cargo decline would be approximately 20% as a result. Last year, however, this prediction did not come to pass because economic cycles have a certain degree of inertia. Because of that, resolution of problematic matters has not progressed much. Nevertheless, the process continues. We have noticed a decline in cargo turnover on the railway and Latvia’s largest ports. This proves that our previous concerns were justified. We need a complex solution to make Latvia an attractive destination for cargo transport,» – commends LDz Chairman Edvīns Bērziņš.
«We have begun talks with Transport Ministry in regards to EU directives. We hope entrepreneurs will support us and help find the most appropriate solution to make sure cargo owners would not have to pay for use of infrastructure that they do not use. With that, we have invited BATL to discuss future cooperation. I hope today’s meeting was a step in the right direction. Similarly, we plan to hold more active dialogues with other market participants and organizations,» – adds Bērziņš.
BATL President Inga Antāne emphasized a matter important to the industry – the problem with railway infrastructure tariffs and the method used to calculate them.
«The decline of cargo volume in the first couple of months was dramatic for all members of the industry. The volume of cargoes carried in transit through ports had declined 17% in the first two months of 2016 in comparison with the same period of the year before. The largest decline in cargoes has been noted in Ventpils, where the decline was 14%. This can be explained with the fact that Ventpsils port has a high tariff, which makes it an unattractive destination. With that, a flexible and competitive equalization of tariffs among the three largest ports in Latvia is necessary. I believe together we can create an economically justified and balanced calculation method for railway infrastructure tariffs to help improve the competitiveness of Latvia’s ports on the international arena. Otherwise Latvia’s national economy will continue losing valuable cargoes and millions in lost revenue,» – emphasizes Antāne.
During talks with LDZ, BATL noted that multiple partner countries – Belarus, Kazakhstan and others – had previously mentioned high tariffs as one of the main problems that prevent them from using Latvia’s transit corridor to its full potential. It is much more economically beneficial for them to carry cargoes through Lithuania and Estonia. On top of that, Russia is in the process of reforming its internal transit policy, developing its own ports and sending cargoes through them.
At the end of the discussion, both sides agreed to continue their cooperation to resolve topical problems and search for solutions to the problems that are found in Latvia’s transit industry.