Latvian Railways, Latvijas Dzelzceļš – LDz, and October Railway, a subsidiary of Russian Railways, are considering increasing and developing the rail freight transport services between the two countries.
The LDz Chairman Māris Kleinbergs and the first deputy director of October Railway Sergey Dorofeyevsky met in Riga on May 21 to discuss further cooperation.
“October Railway is one of LDz’s most important cooperation partners for many years. I am satisfied that during these quite challenging times, when cargo transport volumes by rail tend to decrease, we can meet to discuss development of mutual cooperation and the next steps that should be made in order to increase competitiveness of rail transport compared to other modes of transport,” LDz board chairman said.
During the meeting, the increase of the competition of the rail freight transport services in relation to other transport modes was discussed. In this matter, LDz drew attention to attracting additional cargo flow between Latvia and Russia to shift cargos from road transport to railway. The two parties agreed to jointly develop competitive proposals to cargo owners who use road transport services in transport of goods between Latvia and Russia.
Along with operational cooperation issues, the heads of both railway companies and experts discussed development of the route Kaliningrad-St.Petersburg via Kaunas and Riga that would help to develop international passenger transport. As Lithuania is also involved in this matter, it is important to achieve an agreement with all involved railway companies.
The parties agreed that they will continue the started work to develop the route Kaliningrad-St.Petersburg via the territory of the Republic of Latvia.
Latvian transport and transit sector experienced significant challenges during the last two years and Latvian Railways is facing the decrease in the volume of cargo transport negatively affected by the situation caused by the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2020, the cargo volume of Latvian rail freight operator has decreased by 41.9 per cent compared to 2019. The company transported 24.1 million tonnes, by 17.4 million tonnes less than in the previous year when 41.5 million tonnes of goods were transported. In 2020, the number of train-kilometers has also decreased by 42 per cent compared to 2019.
Despite the decrease of freight transport, in 2020 LDz invested EUR 11.2 million to modernise and develop the rail infrastructure and started the works for an ambitious passenger modernisation programme covering the modernisation and construction of new modern and passenger-convenient platforms at 48 railway stations and stops throughout Latvia.