CZ/SK verze

JVZ transports only state-owned cargo. Their support is the only way to keep freight transport on the railway, says ZSSK CARGO CEO Roman Gono

JVZ transports only state-owned cargo. Their support is the only way to keep freight transport on the railway, says ZSSK CARGO CEO Roman Gono
photo: RAILTARGET/JVZ transports only state-owned cargo. Their support is the only way to keep freight transport on the railway, says ZSSK CARGO CEO Roman Gono
01 / 12 / 2022

RAILTARGET presents you with an interview with Roman Gono, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Železničná spoločnosť Cargo Slovakia, a. s. The topic of the interview was the Czech-Slovak cooperation in the railway sector, as well as the support of the JVZ and the prices of traction electricity.

We are meeting on the occasion of the first Czechoslovak conference organized by VÚŽ. You spoke among the speakers with others involved in freight transport. We would love to ask you whether Czechoslovak cooperation is vital to you.

It certainly is. We used to be one country for many years, and I think that cooperation is crucial. We are two nations that are very close to each other and share history and themes. The infrastructure used to be also linked in the past, and I think it is vital for Slovakia and the Czech Republic to continue cooperating because we are not on the same boat but on the same railway. I welcome the fact that VÚŽ has held such a conference because it means that we want to solve things together that will affect both sides.

The next question is on a very important topic for you, the individual carload shipments and their transport. It was said at the conference that there should be a notification to support the carriage of single shipping. What is your assessment of that?

As I demonstrated in the panel discussion, it turned out that both Slovak Cargo and Czech Cargo are in the same position. At the moment, we are the only ones on the whole market doing single shipping, even though the market is liberalized. Transporting single shipping is loss-making because it is very technologically demanding. Other countries, such as France at the moment, previously Austria, Germany, and, last year, Hungary, have supported individual wagon consignments with systemic state support.

It is, in my opinion, the only way to keep them on the railway, because customers who have one or two wagons simply do not have the chance to fill the whole train with goods, and, therefore, if we want to keep the concept of our company, which is more than five million tonnes a year, which we transport in the form of individual wagon consignments, if we want to keep them on the railway, then we need, when other countries have notified this, to make it happen in Slovakia as well.

The last question is about energy prices, especially the price of traction power in Slovakia, which is becoming very problematic for haulers. What is your opinion on what the solution should be to this pressing situation with the price of electricity for rail transport?

Electricity is a top topic for us right now. I would love the example of the Czech Republic, where the price of electricity is capped, and they know how to calculate, to be followed so that we can get into this situation. Here in Slovakia, we are actually in a position where the introduced scheme is for less demanding, energetic businesses. In our opinion, it has no chance of having that effect because the EUR 100 000 in monthly charges as compensation from the state will do absolutely nothing for us. This year, we will spend more than 40 million on electricity. However, at today's market prices, when the price of electricity is somewhere in the region of EUR 400-500 per megawatt hour, our price would perhaps be EUR 100 million, which is an unimaginable sum. That is why we need the Slovak Government to wish to take such measures so that we can compete within Europe and be in a situation where electricity is capped. In our terms, that is almost 200 000 megawatt hours, which is a huge expense. We need to put it into prices so that customers will continue to ride with us, even in this energy crisis.

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