bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Monday 30.03.2020 | Name days: Nanija, Ilgmārs, Igmārs
LatviaLatvia

Authorities assess Latvian Railways' possible abuse of dominant position

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

At the end of 2018, Latvia’s Competition Council commenced a violation case against state company Latvian Railways and its subsidiary LDz Cargo for possible abuse of their dominant position on the market.

The case was launched following a request from one of Latvia’s largest railway freight carriers Baltic Express. The company’s board chairman Māris Bremze explains that Latvia’s railway industry still has not entered free market status even though it should have happened as far back as 2007.

«Currently the infrastructure maintenance company is also engaged in cargo freights together with LDz Cargo and LDz Logistics even though LDz is supposed to be neutral and only perform management of railway infrastructure,» said Bremze.

When asked if Baltic Express turned to Competition Council complaining about the general situation or some specific case, Bremze said he would rather not comment on details. However, he said it is clear that private carriers are completely dependent on LDz Cargo, which is the sole freight carrier that performs cargo transports in the border region, as well as the only party that ensures cargo clearance documents.

«In a situation when there is allegedly an open market, Baltic Express and every other freight carrier is forced to purchase clearance documents containing rather sensitive information. Then where is any noteworthy cargo industry development? It is clear we cannot hope to ensure optimal load for railway if private carriers are unable to secure private transports, considering the level of bureaucracy they have to go through with LDz Cargo,» said Bremze.

It is unknown for how long Competition Council intends to review this case. Nevertheless, the Competition Law states that in the event of a violation the perpetrating company can be applied with a fine of up to 5% of its last year’s net turnover.

As it is known, during a press-conference on Tuesday, 7 May, Latvia’s Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits voiced distrust to LDz chairman Edvīns Bērziņš and two board members – Aivars Strakša and Ainis Stūrmanis. The minister also said he will ask the company’s council to dismiss them.

He stressed that Latvian Railway’s current administration cannot be trusted and that members do not understand European Commission’s free market regulation. Moreover – there are suspicions regarding possible corruption and scheming within the company.

Explaining the reasons, the minister said the Competition Council has commenced a case for abuse of dominating position and market distortion, which could result with serious financial consequences for the country.

«The general feeling is that the board of LDz does not really understand European Commission’s and EU’s requirements in regards to market openness for free competition», said the minister.

Another aspect is potential corruption and scheming in the industry. The minister did not want to go into details during the press-conference. He only said the corruption cases are related to advertisement contracts. Linkaits said the exact amount paid will be clarified in the future. He only said this amount «is very large».

The minister also stresses that a large amount of emphasis in advertisement contracts was noticed in Ventspils and Dobele.

There is no logical reason why these two cities require so much sponsoring, especially considering these two cities do not have a large number of LDz clients. «With that, we believe many advertisement and marketing contracts were not related to the company’s main form of activities.»

When asked by journalists if contracts could have ties to Aivars Lembergs and Uldis Augulis, the minister said: «I hope we will learn about motivation more through audits».

Linkaits, explaining his request for LDz council to dismiss LDz board members, comments: «I would find it hard to work with a company’s board in the implementation of objectives detailed in the action plan in relation to the country’s railway industry. The decision to keep or dismiss board members is in the hands of the company’s council.»

The council will decide on the aforementioned board members’ remainder in their posts next week.

Everything the minister said in regards to his disappointment with the board does not apply to Ēriks Šmuksts, who, according to Linkaits, is a proven patriot and professional in his line of work.

Bērziņš has since announced that his board has worked as a responsible owner that everything is fine in the company and that accusations are baseless. He said that there was a meeting of LDz council not long ago. During this meeting, participants discussed financial results and called them very good.

When asked about possible corruption in the company, Bērziņš said he is not aware of any. «Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau is in charge of investigation of corruption, and that LDz has not received any notifications about any criminal cases,» he said.


Leave a reply

Latvian government imposes new restrictions on public gatherings

A new restriction imposed by the Latvian government states that no more than two people are allowed to gather in a room of a public place. This restriction will not extend to people living in the same household, parents and their children, as well as persons performing duties associated with their profession.

Round timber price decline observed in Latvia in first half-year of 2019

Compared to the 1st half of 2019, the average purchase prices both of coniferous round timber and of deciduous trees fell in the 2nd half of 2019. The largest drop was recorded in the prices of black alder sawlogs in diameter 18–24 cm, while the smallest decline was observed in the prices of asp sawlogs in diameter 18–24 cm.

Detachment to grow harder, important to maintain routine, says Estonian psychologist

A psychologist in Estonia, where an emergency situation has been in place for ten days amid a COVID-19 outbreak, has evaluated that it will become harder to live in isolation and suggested having a daily routine, ERR reports.

KPV LV picks Nemiro as vice-chairman despite reputation problems

Ralfs Nemiro and Ēriks Pucens were picked as KPV LV political party chairman Atis Zakatistovs deputies during the first online meeting of the newly-elected management board, as reported by the party.

Why does Latvia’s Interior Affairs Minister want the football federation president’s post?

Although Latvian Interior Affairs Minister Sandis Ģirģens should be putting all effort into his direct duties and measures to limit COVID-19, he, in spite of Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš’s objections, he still intends to run for the post of president of Latvian Football Federation.

Latest COVID-19 data for Baltics. 376 in Latvia, 484 in Lithuania, 715 in Estonia

The number of COVID-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 376, which is the lowest number of infections among Baltic States. Lithuanian media, meanwhile, report 484 infections. 44 of the infected people are medical workers.

Rīgas satiksme cancels most discounts for the duration of state of emergency

On 27 March Riga City Council’s interim administration decided to cancel most of the discounts offered to residents in public transport to reduce passenger flow and limit the spread of COVID-19, as reported by the city council.

In Spain, 838 people die from COVID-19 one day

In Spain, in one day to Sunday, March 29, 838 people have died from health problems related to COVID-19. Meanwhile, in Italy, for the second consecutive day, the number of lethal cases dropped.

COVID-19 confirmed for Stradins Hospital surgeon

Infection with COVID-19 coronavirus has been confirmed for a surgeon working at Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital, as reported by LTV programme Panorāma.

airBaltic to recover pre-crisis operation volumes in 2021, if not sooner

Latvia’s national airline airBaltic may recover its pre-crisis operation volumes in 2021, if not sooner, says airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss.

Russia closes land border; trucks exempt from ban

Russia is closing from Monday, March 30, its borders in a measure to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country, but cargo trucks will be allowed to cross the border, Russian state news agency TASS reports.

Covid-19 update in Baltics. 347 in Latvia, 437 in Lithuania, 679 in Estonia

The number of Covid-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 347, which is the lowest number of infections among Baltic States. Lithuanian media, meanwhile, report 437 infections.

Week in Lithuania: 5th person succumbs to COVID-19, court postpones January 13 case hearing, new ambassadors appointed

Last week, in Lithuania, the President urged EU leaders to be tougher on COVID-19 after the fifth person in Lithuania died from COVID-19. In other news, Senukai retail chain was cleared by Competition watchdog and a court postponed the hearing of the January 13 case.

BNN summary of the week: Muižnieks reinstated as rector. Friendly fuel prices

BNN gives you a summary of the key events of the past week, told in news stories of the following topics: State of Emergency, Post, Outlook, Solutions, Opinion and Price decline.

1 500 people have returned to Latvia since the beginning of state of emergency

After 27 March, no repatriation flights are planned for Latvian citizens unless it is an emergency, as confirmed by Latvian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s press-secretary Jānis Beķeris.

Covid-19 infection confirmed for a doctor of Rēzekne Hospital

Covid-19 infection has been confirmed for a doctor of Rēzekne Hospital, as reported by Disease Prevention and Monitoring Centre. The centre received this information on Thursday, 26 March. SPKC notes the infected doctor has been provided with recommendations for preventive measures.

Europol warns about rapid crime rate increase during coronavirus pandemic

During the coronavirus pandemic there has been an increase with crime rates, as criminals and criminal organizations quickly adapt their methods, as reported by Europol on Friday, 27 March.

Experts explain | don’t buy into internet offers of slimming pills – they don’t exist!

The healthy lifestyle cult has become more popular in recent years. This tendency has opened the way for greedy snake oil salesmen to get rich at the expense of people who want to become slim, especially now, when residents stay home and want to stay in good shape without exercising.

Estonia orders protective equipment from China for 10 million euros

Estonia has ordered from a company in China antiviral protection and medial equipment worth more than 10 million euros. Tallinn explained supplies could not be ordered in Europe right now, Estonian public broadcaster ERR reported.

Electricity price reduces for households in Latvia

From Q4 2019 onward the price of electricity has reduced, according to the latest market data from the Public Utilities Commission. Prices benefit from warm weather and recovery of water reserves, which allows increasing the power production output at hydroelectric power stations.

Latest Covid-19 data for Baltics. 280 in Latvia, 344 in Lithuania, 575 in Estonia

The number of Covid-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 280, which means this country has the lowest number of infection cases among the three Baltic States. Lithuanian media report 344 infection cases.

BNN asks | expert speaks about the «panic» over coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

I would like to explain to readers that the word panic may not be the best description for the general mood that has increased in many parts of the world, including Latvia, in the past several weeks because of the new coronavirus.

EU states agree to overcome virus outbreak and economic crisis together

The EU heads of member states and governments have agreed in a distance meeting to fight the virus outbreak in the territory of the bloc with joint efforts, ensuring the supply of medical equipment and funding the development of a vaccine, the EU European Council sated in a press release.

Workers from all industries eligible for idleness benefits in Latvia

After meeting certain criteria, workers from companies working in all industries will become eligible for idleness benefits, as provided by Latvian Cabinet of Ministers supported rules developed by Economy Ministry for support of companies affected by Covid-19.

US surpasses China with largest number of coronavirus infections

In the US, the world’s largest number of confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus has been registered, surpassing the official data of China, American news agency Associated Press reports.


Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!