At the end of February, CIS countries, Georgia and Baltic States signed in Tallinn a collaboration protocol on railway transport. By signing this protocol, EestiRaudtee, the national railway company of Estonia, hopes to increase the freight flow via Estonia. According to the new interstate agreement, an increased freight volume could be carried by railway up to Koidula, cross-border point located in the south-east of Estonia instead of Narva hub, in the north-east of the state at the Baltic Sea. Both the number of trains crossing Koidula and the train traffic schedule will be established based on the protocol.
The freight volume of Estonia’s railway transport operator fell in January 2014 by 19.2% compared to January 2013, mainly because of the 24% reduction of oil volumes for transport.
ToomasUiboupin, EestiRaudtee Deve-lopment Manager, said the fall was mainly caused by the fact that the comparison base was the previous year, when the Estonian company recorded a positive record of the volumes of shipped freight.
The cooperation protocol signed should be favourable to Estonia because it enables an improved redistribution of transport tasks between the frontier points Narva and Koidula, so that certain products that have been shipped through Narvaso could now reach destination via Koidula as well.
VyacheslavTkatckenko, Vice President of the Council for Railway Transport of CIS believes that Estonia benefits from a position favourable to the transit of goods and therefore only transport capacity needs boosting.
The greatest challenge for the Baltic States and Russia is to attract freight flows from China, declared AndrisMaldups, Director of the Transit Policy Department of Latvia’s Mi-nistry of Transport. He said that the problem was not the competitiveness determined by the transit routes developed through Poland and Germany, but the transport of freight to the northern European countries.
According to the Secretary General of the International Rail Transport Committee (CIT), Caesare Brand, the development of a common legal framework and of a legal transport mechanism are key elements for developing land transport connections between Europe and Asia.
According to the estimates of the European Commission, of the three Baltic States, Estonia’s economy could experience a 4% growth in 2014 and Latvia’s GDP is also expected to increase by 4.1% in 2014.
EC continues to estimate that Latvia will once again have the highest economic growth of all EU countries in 2014.
At the same time, EC expects Lithuania to have a 3.8% GDP increase in 2014.
Moreover, according to the European Commission, the Estonian exports will be the engine of economic growth starting with the middle of the year. This segment is supported by Russia’s improved economic situation and by the countries in the north. Due to the increase of exports, the possibility of private investments will increase compensating for the reduction of public investments.