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Antāne: TM has to prevent collapse of transit sector’s competitiveness within 30 days

BNN/LETA/publicity photo.
Transport Ministry and Latvijas dzelzceļš have roughly 30 days to prevent Latvia from ending up at the top of the list of countries with the highest railway infrastructure fees in the European Union.

Letting this situation take hold would mean betraying the state and industry, because it would only further impact international competitiveness, says Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics President Inga Antāne.

It should be said that the State Railway Administration had voiced doubts about the reasons behind the decision to increase of fees of infrastructure use. The administration has also initiated an administrative violation procedure against LDz for hiding information from a state supervisory institution. This is the first time in the history of the industry. The administration publicly pointed out the fact of discrimination of carriers by means of artificially raising the prices in the transit corridor.

«How many industry experts have to voice their opinion before Transport Ministry and the government finally take notice and halt all the wrong decisions they have made!? Concerns about the consequences of raising fees for the industry have been voiced by other transit associations at a meeting organized by Transport Ministry this week. It was during this meeting that experts discussed proposals from NGO sector for the development of the country’s transit industry,» says BATL President Inga Antāne.

She adds: «This meeting was called after Saeima’s National Economy Committee ordered Transport Ministry, which is the institution responsible for the industry, to develop a sustainable development strategy by 1 December 2018.»

It is also mentioned in BATL’s announcement that the current infrastructure fee is 10.35 EUR/km, whereas next year’s rate will grow by 7% and will reach 11.08 EUR/km.

«This matter affects regional ports – Liepaja and Ventspils – the most. This is because they are farther away from the border than other ports,» says Antāne.

BATL emphasizes that only Estonia will be ahead of Latvia in terms of high infrastructure fees until the end of the year. After that, however, Latvia will take the lead. In Lithuania, however, this fee is two times below Latvia’s.

BATL emphasizes that in a situation when railway transports had declined 15% last year and this decline had continued in summer, it is important to search for ways to reduce domestic costs, not increase them.

BATL had previously informed that an action plan was submitted in September to the prime minister, transport minister, economy minister, finance minister and the council of LDz, asking them to act, because talks with Transport Ministry have reached a dead end.


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