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Orlen, Lithuanian Railways try to solve dispute over rail rates

BC, Vilnius, 17.03.2016.Print version
Officials from Poland's oil group PKN Orlen and its Lithuanian subsidiary are trying to reach an amicable agreement with Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) to end their years-long dispute over rail transportation rates, informs LETA.

Lithuanian Transport Minister Rimantas Sinkevicius confirmed to BNS that such an agreement had been planned to be signed during a visit by Orlen's president to Vilnius on March 16th, but said that it was unclear if this would be done.


"I do not know if it will be signed today. As you know, Orlen and Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai have various claims regarding their 2009 agreement on rates, which is effective until 2024," Sinkevicius told BNS on Wednesday.


"They are now looking for a compromise to end the dispute out of court through an amicable settlement. The process is moving forward and both sides are willing to end the court process. Both sides looked for a way and will apparently find that way," he said.


The Polish daily Rzeczpospolita has reported that it was expected last week that an agreement would be signed during the visit, but it is clear now that the process will not be so fast.  


According to the paper, the companies are holding talks not only on lower rates for the transportation of Orlen's products, but also on a dismantled railway track between Orlen's crude refinery in Mazeikiai, in northwestern Lithuania, and Renge, in Latvia.


According to Sinkevicius, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition is carrying out a probe regarding the Renge track and, therefore, no agreement between the companies on this issue is possible now.


PKN Orlen, whose president Wojciech Jasinski was meeting with Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius in Vilnius on Wednesday, would not provide any details about these talks.


Orlen has repeatedly criticized Lithuania for its unfavorable logistics and is embroiled in court disputes with the state railway operator. The Lithuanian Court of Appeals last year called on the companies to consider resolving their disputes amicably.


The Vilnius Commercial Arbitration Court is hearing a case in which Orlen Lietuva is seeking 15.9 million euros from Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai for overcharging it for rail services.


The railway company, meanwhile, is seeking around 8.4 million euros from Orlen Lietuva in compensation for unpaid infrastructure fees.

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