CZ/SK verze

Slovakian Rail Freight Carriers Fear Imminent Collapse Amid Rising Charges

Slovakian Rail Freight Carriers Fear Imminent Collapse Amid Rising Charges
photo: RAILTARGET Archive/Slovakian Rail Freight Carriers Fear Imminent Collapse Amid Rising Charges
17 / 07 / 2023

The railway sector in Slovakia is on alert. Freight carriers are threatened with a significant increase in rail freight charges. It could lead to the collapse of rail freight transport in Slovakia. In addition, foreign carriers could bypass Slovakia altogether and instead use more economically viable routes through neighboring countries. The Slovak Transport Ministry's proposal will also be discussed by the tripartite today.

"The Ministry of Transport should withdraw this proposal, which poses a real threat to rail freight transport in Slovakia. This is our goal at the tripartite meeting," said Patrik Benka, executive director of AROS, the association of freight carriers in Slovakia, exclusively for RAILTARGET. 

In the second half of June, the Slovak Transport Ministry submitted a document Setting up a sustainable strategy for railroad charges for an inter-ministerial comment procedure, which proposes to increase charges for the use of the railroad. Slovakian transport companies would have to pay an additional EUR 7.5 million annually. In other words, the aid would be reduced by EUR 7.5 million.

The Association of Railway Carriers of Slovakia (AROS.SK) wrote an open letter to the Ministry in which it rejected the proposal as a whole. In their letter, they criticized the fact that they were given only seven days to comment on the proposal. "The fact that the material is being prepared at all, and the Ministry was not able to present it at the joint meeting at the 'round table' on June 20, 2023, moreover in a situation when the topic of infrastructure charging was mentioned at the 'round table' by AROS representatives and left without any response from the Ministry only three days before the material was sent!", AROS representatives said in the letter.

The proposal was also criticized by Jozef Chovanec, President of the Trade Union Association of Train Drivers and Dispatchers, or Dušan Kaša, President of the Federation of Train Drivers of the Slovak Republic, for whom the amount of EUR 7.5 million to support the neglected maintenance of railway transport is unacceptable and insufficient.