Rolands Petersons, member of the board of CPM Trading SIA, April 24, 2018, 12:10

RIGA, LATVIA, June 21, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ — Railway transport is one of the most promising modes of inland transport, and, at the moment, it is said to be the crucial element in the economy of Latvia. Considering the entire volume of inland transport, the share of railway freight is about 52%, whereas the volume of the passenger transportation is 6% and in Riga suburban area the number is increasing up to 30%. However, the data summarized by the Ministry of Communications still shows that in Latvia the volume of freight rail transportation by comparison with 2016 has decreased by 8.4% and amounted to 43.792 million tons.

Traffic congestion can lead to a loss of 200 billion euros

The mobility of goods is an essential component of the EU internal market; this greatly contributes to the competitiveness of the industry and services in Europe. The types of lengthy transportation as railway can reduce their costs, which arise in connection with the traffic congestion on the roads. The increase of approximately 50% is projected by the year 2050, reaching a volume of almost 200 billion euros per year.

In the future, it is possible to increase the volume of rail transportation.

The amount of international rail transportation in 2017 was 42.138 million tons, which showed a decline of 9.1% compared to 2016. However, domestic traffic has increased by 11.5% to 1.653 million tonnes. The volume of transit cargo from the total amount of international rail freight transport amounted to 38.719 million tons, which showed a drop of 6.5% compared to the previous year, the volume of imported goods was 3.067 million tons, or 22.4% less, and the volume of export cargo was 351 800 tons, which was a drop of 2.8 times. In 2016, in Latvia, by rail, 47.821 million tons were transported. Taking into consideration the decline in the international transport sector in 2017, the question is, by which means can we achieve the volume increase? By implementation of the well-considered long-term solutions, it is possible to get back to the level that used to be before the embargo against Russia was introduced in 2013.

Increase of the average commercial speed of freight trains.

One of the key priorities nowadays is the development of the railway infrastructure, and in this case, it is expected, the railway infrastructure can be financed by the European Union. It is essential to find a solution how to increase the average commercial speed of freight trains since the speed is only about 18 km/h on the majority international routes in Europe. One of the solutions can be the improvement of cooperation between existing infrastructure organizations in Europe. The actual train system needs to be adapted to the needs of the railway freight transport sector, especially in the EU freight rail corridors. This would contribute to the competitiveness of rail transport with other modes of transport, especially with the road transport sector, which infrastructure is easily accessible in all Member States.

Well-thought-out charge for the use of infrastructure.

Freight trains pay for each kilometer of the railway infrastructure, which again adversely affects the competitiveness of the railway in comparison with road transport, where such charge is not always introduced. Setting the price that users are required to pay for getting into the infrastructure, it would be necessary to take into account the impact on the environment and pollution, congestion, accidents and other aspects.

The state should provide a proper support for organizations managing infrastructure, and rail transport enterprises should strive to improve the competitiveness of rail freight services, especially in regards to reliability, filling, elasticity, customer orientation, and the duration and cost of transportation, as these are the main aspects which are considered by an average consignor in selecting any of the available modes of transport.

Elimination of imperfections in the liberalization of the freight transport process

In cooperation with both, the public and private sectors, at the international level, imperfections related to the liberalization of freight rail transport, communication lines procedures, administrative and technical restrictions, monitoring and anticipating performance in the rail freight industry, and fair competition between different modes of transportation. Therefore, it is necessary to find out the ways to make a better use of available EU funding and target it to the rail transport industry in order to achieve improvements in such areas as a coherent approach to policy objectives and funding (while focusing on corridors for freight railways transportation), for the selection, planning and management of projects, as well as for the maintenance of railroad networks.

Not only update, but also a regular support

It is essential to take to the new level not only the quality of the services provided to carriers and shippers of rail freight but, in general, to improve the competitiveness of rail freight transport; infrastructure managing organizations should not only update and modernize the railway network but also to regularly support it. This is especially important for the corridors of rail freight. If the tracks are not properly maintained, the speed limits will have to be applied and the railway lines will gradually be obstructed.

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