Latvia’s railway system is inefficient and needs to be changed so that it is possible to compete with other countries, because the tariffs Latvia has now are too high, said Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics President Inga Antane.
Antane mentions experience of her colleagues: “Our colleagues in Germany made a very important political decision in the summer months – they approved a new Master Plan for railway development. First of all, this plan provides for reducing tariffs up to two times from their current size. Second, the plan provides for modernizing two times longer trains and making transports more efficient. There is also the possibility of reducing prices. I mentioned the same matters in relation to our country many times in the past. We have to equalize tariffs for all three of Latvia’s largest ports. We also have to modernize the railway to allow longer trains to pass to far-away ports like Ventspils. Decisions have yet to be made, however.”
She also mentions that operations of LDz should be made more efficient to make Latvia capable of competing with other countries. It is necessary to review the investment program, unified transit and logistical offers.
“Considering the scale of cargo decline we are currently experiencing, we cannot possibly afford railway electrification,” said BATL President.
“The decline of railway cargoes is heavy,” Antane said. She says one of the reasons is that Latvia’s tariff plan is not flexible enough. “Lithuania’s railway is able to be flexible in all matters. Latvia’s situation, on the other hand, is far less flexible.”
Antane also mentioned that it was currently hard to predict what the decline might turn out in the end, because there were multiple aspects to consider, including future relations between Russia and Belarus, considering that the Belarusian Foreign Affairs Minister mentioned recently that relations with Latvia would largely depend on the tariff.
“This is an increasingly bad signal for us,” said Antane.
She also mentioned that Latvia had the largest number of railways in Europe per capita. Infrastructure is good, but it is expensive to maintain. (BNN/Business World Magazine)
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