The railway companies in Croatia (HZ), Slovenia (SJ) and Serbia (SZ) have decided on establishing the Cargo 10 company for boosting railway goods traffic on Corridor X. The new operator based in Ljubljana will help increase the incomes of the three founding companies. Cargo 10 began activity in October 2010 and the travel time between Ljubljana and Istanbul reduced by 22 hours (from 57 to 35 hours).
An improved collaboration in railway transport and more efficient goods and passenger transport services have convinced the transport ministers in Croatia (Bozidar Kalmeta), Slovenia (Patrick Vlacic) and Serbia (Milutin Mrkonjic) to sign an official document in July on the establishment of the “Cargo 10” consortium. The agreement also stipulates the simplification of cross-border procedures aimed to reduce travel times and harmonise management formalities in the railway transport sector. Under the plans, at the beginning of October, Cargo 10 began activity by shipping goods for the Italian market in a 32-car train. “Due to the new joint-venture each of the three companies will increase annual incomes by EUR 50 Million. The number of freight trains operated by Cargo 10 will grow from the current 1,000 to 2,000 per year”, declared the Serbian Minister of Transport, Milutin Mrkonjić. Cargo 10 will dispose of 5% of the rolling stock fleet of each company (HZ, SJ and SZ). Each of these companies own 1/3 of Cargo 10 and profit will be shared under the same criteria. The establishment of the new operator has triggered the reaction of the railway companies in Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Bulgaria. For Macedonian Railways, the new operator is a risk, declared Oliver Derkoski, CEO Makedonske zeljeznice. “We have not got the offer to participate in the formation of Cargo 10. Nonetheless, we will be included in the project anyway and we will offer part of Macedonian tracks. This is pure business interest and we are satisfied with it,” Derkoski said. The ceremony celebrating the launch of Cargo 10 activities (at the beginning of October) was also attended by representatives from Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. On October 13, 2010, Bosnia joined Cargo 10 joint-venture. “By joining this initiative, we want to bring our fully contribution in the development of the railway sector in the region”, declared the head of Railways, Nedzad Osmanagic. This alliance “will help us boost transport volumes and ease the traffic of goods in the region”, said Nedzad Osmanagic. Apparently, Republika Srpska Railways would soon join the joint-venture as well, according to the company’s manager, Zdravko Savic. Nevertheless, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia are negotiating the accession of Bulgarian and Macedonian railway companies, as members of the new operator, at the same time, seeking business opportunities with Greece and Turkey, the Slovenian government informed, the online newspaper limun.hr informs. Moreover, the Slovenian Government, which is responsible for SZ Railways, has approved the company’s accession to Cargo 10. This project is very important for Croatia since the shipped volumes will grow, especially due to the fact that 80% of the freight rail transport in Croatia is developed on Corridor X. This favours the port of Rijeka, Croatia’s biggest port in terms of goods flows. Consequently, the operations developed by Cargo 10 will also boost activity in the port of Rijeka, where infrastructure projects are currently underway for increasing capacity. “The joint-venture operator, Cargo 10, will boost freight transport in the region. In the future, this company will create a competitive business environment that will attract goods flows to rails. Romania and Bulgaria can become strategic partners in this project. Constanţa seaport plays a significant part in the transport and transit of freight. Apart from these two countries, another interest country is Turkey. Railway companies are welcomed within Cargo 10 as they contribute to an increasing freight rail traffic and supply of efficient and flexible solutions”, Ivan Matasic, member of HZ Infrastruktura board (Croatia) declared for Railway Pro during the “Railway Days” Summit.
by Pamela Luică