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Estonian Transiidikeskus wants railway charges to be halved at least

To improve the competitiveness of the transit sector, navigation charges and railway infrastructure charges should be at least halved in Estonia, the transit company Transiidikeskus AS said on April 13th, cites LETA/BNS.

"Our proposal is to quickly discuss the situation of the whole transit sector and to reduce navigation and rail infrastructure charges by at least 50%. Each month delayed will further reduce the revenue collected as taxes, because as a result of the rigidity of the charges the sector is losing clients to Finland and Latvia, where not only the employers and the state, but also trade unions are working together in the name of success," Transiidikeskus CEO Erik Laidvee told BNS.

Laidvee said the government should cut the fees since the sector's cost structure is no longer the same and the entire transit business has suffered a massive setback. "Besides, in the transit sector communicating with Russia on as high a level as is done by Finland and Latvia is essential," he added.

"When passenger carriage by rail is subsidized using infrastructure charges and in ports the size of the cargo and navigation fees charged to businesses is dictated not by the market situation but something else, the situation becomes increasingly complex. Our neighboring countries have kept lowering the charges in order to compete for freight flows and are viewing the competitiveness of the transit chain as a common concern. We must do the same to survive," Laidvee said.

He said that even though the transit business is getting signals from the large state-owned infrastructure companies indicative of cooperation, concrete steps are needed which take account of economic realities and the competition situation.

The Muuga container terminal of Transiidikeskus handled 48,400 twenty-foot units (TEU) of containers in the first three months of this year, 8.7% less than in 2015.

The volume of rail transit traffic between Estonia and Russia has halved, from 12 to six train pairs a day. Ten years ago, in 2006, Estonian Railways received 32.4 trains from Russia per day on the average.

"The reason is economic – oil prices are down, Russia is producing less heavy fuel oil and has found better opportunities for selling it via Russian ports. It's as simple as this," the CEO of Estonian Railways, Sulev Loo, told BNS on Tuesday.

(Source: http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/transport/?doc=119417)

15.04.2016

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