Latvian Railway loses monopoly status on Latvian-Lithuanian border

Baltic Express has signed a contract with Latvian state company Lithuanian Railway (Lietuvos geležinkeliai) freight company LTG Cargo. From now on Baltic Express will be able to operate on the Latvian-Lithuanian border section of the railway without mediation from Latvian Railway’s subsidiary LDz Cargo, as found out from the company.
The contract with LTG Cargo allows Baltic Express to receive the single safety certificate issued by European Union Agency for Railways (ERA). This certificate is issued for freight carriers and manoeuvre operators who have a functional safety management system and are able to safely operate within their designated area of operations. It is possible to acquire this certificate only if a contract is signed with a freight carrier on the other side of the border.
Baltic Express board chairman Māris Bremze told portal mentioned that the signing of the contract with LTG Cargo before receiving the single safety certificate was largely a matter of mutual trust between the two companies. «Our counterparts had to be 100% confident that we are trustworthy, capable and able to take responsibility of our freights and fulfil all of their requirements. The signing of this contract proves Baltic Express is a serious and reliable partner in the eyes of Lietuvos geležinkeliai.»
Māris Bremze says the opportunity for Baltic Express to work in the border area without mediation from LDz Cargo is a step towards promoting competition.
«Baltic Express has stressed on multiple occasions that Latvian Railway, which is the manager in charge of the public use infrastructure, should provide all market players with equal conditions when it comes to organising freight traffic from the state border all the way top the freight recipient’s private infrastructure, as well as support and promote private freight carriers’ freedom to organize transports in border areas. Unfortunately, we did not any actions in this direction until now. The Competition Council concluded the same at the beginning of the year before fining LDz Cargo more than EUR 5 million for abuse of dominant market position. Both LDz Cargo and its parent company LDz have appealed this decision in court.»
Māris Bremze is satisfied accomplishments of Baltic Express and stresses: «The signing of the contract with LTG Cargo is a considerable accomplishment of the management of Baltic Express. This allows us to offer our clients more economic offers and attract more freights. While previously we were able to carry freights as far as Meitene station, where freights would be taken over by LDz Cargo, which had basically killed this segment, now we can carry freights from the Lithuanian border all the way to the Estonian border. This lets our company freely manage the situation and provide our clients services without having to adapt to any conditions from LDz Cargo, which were always unjustified and more resembled a monopoly-driven dictatorship than anything else.»
Māris Bremze also reveals that already talks are underway with multiple clients about carrying freight without mediation from LDz Cargo.
This allows for the prediction that the volume of freight carried by the company will continue increasing.
Baltic Express is a licenced railway freight carrier. The company has been active for 22 years. Baltic Express employs 135 people, owns 30 trains, and a train repair hangar. The company’s partners include the biggest terminals of the Freeport of Ventspils, Schwenk Latvia, Orlen Lithuania and other companies.