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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Sunday, 25.08.2019, 08:54

Lithuanian minister: transport holding’s dividends could go to Rail Baltica

BC, Vilnius, 11.03.2016.Print version
Lithuanian Transport and Communications Minister Rimantas Sinkevicius says that the creation of a transport holding company grouping together state-controlled transport enterprises would help consolidate their dividends and use the funds for the European standard-gauge railway project Rail Baltica, informs LETA/BNS.

According to him, the government does not plan to change its freight transit tariff policy in the near future, but with politicians discussing threats posed by Belarus' Astravyets nuclear power plant, Lithuania may face a decrease in freight shipments from the East.


"You never know what your neighbor will do. Lithuanian transport companies and the Transport Ministry today work closely with Belarus' transport and logistics companies and the railways. Good business-like relations between the ministers have been established. But you cannot be sure that complex and totally unrelated things will not be linked together," Sinkevicius said in an interview to BNS.


"For me, as a citizen, it is important that the power plant, which it appears will be built, should comply with all the stress tests that are performed in the West and meet all international safety requirements, because this is a huge threat. Also, Lithuania should not be left on its own in this matter," he said when asked what impact calls by some Lithuanian politicians to restrict market access for electricity produced by the Astravyets plant might have on bilateral economic relations between Lithuania and Belarus, particularly on the state railway company Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) and the Klaipeda seaport.


According to Sinkevicius, Lithuania is unlikely to change its transit tariff policy in the near future.


"It (the policy) is unlikely to change, because there are no economic reasons for that. On the other hand, it is very important to watch what our neighbors do. It is very important to watch how Latvia's rail tariffs, as well as those of Belarus and Ukraine, will change," the minister said.

"But our goal remains to ensure that the port of Klaipeda, which gets most of its freight by rail, is attractive," he added.


Commenting on the course of the Rail Baltica project, Sinkevicius said that he saw the role of the Baltic joint venture as a coordinating one, because each Baltic country has a separate company responsible for the construction of the railway in its respective country.


The minister said that he wanted public procurement procedures for Rail Baltica construction work on Lithuania's territory to be carried out in Lithuania.


"I think it is premature to speak about the operation of the future railway. If we are looking to have the railway around 2025, then we still have nine years. Given all possible legal disputes, land issues, designing issues and EU financing possibilities, this may push back the completion of the project. It is difficult to speak today about who will manage the train traffic and who will be the operator," he said.

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