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Baltic Express attracts railway cargoes; decline noted for other carriers

Photo: transport-journal.
Railway cargo carrier Baltic Express more than doubled its cargo volumes in the first seven months of 2017. Meanwhile, other two cargo carriers – LDz Cargo and Baltic Transit Service – have suffered cargo declines. Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics notes that it is ringing the alarm over the situation in the industry, not over the interests of its members.

The biggest cargo decline was suffered by LDz Cargo, which carried 17,302 tonnes in the first seven months of 2017, which means 15.1% less when compared with the same period of 2016.

Baltic Transit Service carried 1.6% less than the year before.

Compared with the same period of 2016, the volume of cargoes carried by Baltic Express has grown 163.6% this year.

«We have worked hard in a situation when Russia refuses to coordinate cargo transports on the railway to Latvian ports. We have successfully attracted cargoes in spite of obstacles that exist for cargo carriers in the border region and the so-called final mile,» says Baltic Express chairman Māris Bremze.

According to Bremze, cargo transports from Latvia’s eastern-most border to the nearest station in Daugavpils or Rezekne are only permitted to be performed by LDz subsidiary LDz Cargo even though liberalized rail freight market rules allow any carrier to access infrastructure and perform cross-border cargo transport activities.

In addition, any maneuvering activities involving the delivery of freight wagons to terminals present at Ventspils port are also only permitted for LDz Cargo.

Bremze adds that LDz Cargo charges more to cargo recipients for cargo deliveries along those railway routes if they are performed by Baltic Express train and not LDz Cargo train.

In the first three months of 2017, Baltic Express carried 3.4 times more cargoes than a year before.

BATL President Inga Antāne notes that companies part of the association do not feel much of impact from cargo decline. The situation is critical in the entire industry, however.

«When we turn to the head of the government, we voice our concerns about the state of Latvia’s second largest sector of the national economy, whose weakening could seriously impact economic development of the entire country,» said Inga Antāne.

According to data from LDz, 7.7% less cargoes were carried in July 2017 when compared with same month of 2016.

On 13 September, BATL organized a press-conference at Bergs Hotel. During this event, members of the association informed those present about the action plan to be submitted to the government. Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis was also publicly asked to take over talks with the industry, seeing as how the discussion with Transport Ministry and minister Uldis Augulis has been less than productive so far.


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