Liberalisation of railway transport in the CEEC
As the countries adopt the acquis communautaire at an unequal rhythm, the liberalization of the railway sector is therefore heterogeneous and mainly concerns the transport of goods. In general, governments endeavor to modernize the national conveyor and network before considering free competition or opening its capital.
Transport of passengers
- OnlyEstoniaand to a smaller extend theCzech RepublicandLatviaentrusted the transport of passengers to private companies. Two new Estonian conveyors appeared in 1999: ELEKTRIRAUDTEE ensures the transport of passengers from suburbs of Tallinn and EVR EKSPRESS operates the international lines Tallinn– Moscow and Tallinn–Saint-Petersburg. In the Czech Republic there is only one completely private 42-km line (property of the tracks and their exploitation), sold by the national conveyor CD to JHMD as it was considered being outdated. InMoraviarailroads are let to 2 private companies for the freight and passenger transport. One private company also transports passengers inLatvia. InSlovenia, the network will be opened to foreign conveyors on January 1, 2003,.
- Several countries asked for transition periods to apply the European regulation. The chapter “Transports” has just been closed byPoland, and taking into account the current reorganization of PKP, a transition period until the end of 2005 has been asked concerning the access to infrastructures. Nevertheless, a co-operation between national operators on the international corridors could be preferred to a complete competition. TheBulgarianauthorities asked for a 5-year transition period starting from the effective membership date to the EU, even if liberalization has theoretically been possible since January 1, 2002 , actually when the Bulgarian holding REI AD requested it but the administration granting licenses has still to be created.Hungaryalso asked for a transition period for rail transports when the “Transport” chapter was being negotiated aiming then at a delay until December 31, 2006 to open its infrastructures to competition in order to give MAV enough time to restructure. In return for an initial privatization of 20% of its capital, the plan was accepted by the European Union. Opening the sector to private companies is being studied inRomania.
- Liberalizing this market is not on the agenda inMacedoniaandYugoslavia, where a possible concession of certain railway activities will not be considered before 5 years, both inSerbiaand inMontenegro. InSlovakia, ZSR and ZS have a monopoly in their respective branches, so that there is no real or even theoretical opening, neither in the sector of transport of goods, nor in the one of passengers.
Transport of goods
The liberalization of the markets in the CEEC on this segment of activity is more advanced than on the transport of passengers.
- Thus,Romaniagranted exploiting licenses to two private companies and the capital of the State company CFR MARFA should be opened to a private operator by 3 or 4 years.
- TheCzech Republicgives access of its network to 7 Czech private freight companies.
- InPoland, licenses were granted to private conveyors having their own rolling stock for specialized transport (hydrocarbons, chemicals…).
- InHungarycompetition already exists for transport of goods where two private companies are operating.
- The infrastructure is and will remain public inLithuaniabut some companies already ensure fre ight contracts under license of the national operator.
- InBulgaria, the principle of opening the market of freight transport does not meet any opposition and will be easier to achieve than the transport of passengers.
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