The Czech minister said: I support the Black List on unreliable suppliers. He defended the carrier ČD Cargo by this

The Czech minister said: I support the Black List on unreliable suppliers. He defended the carrier ČD Cargo by this
photo: Archives/Workshop Louny
10 / 11 / 2020

The Czech Minister of Transport Karel Havlíček expressed his support for the existence of a "black list" on unreliable suppliers. In the Czech environment, this institute was discussed in particular with the fact that the group Rail Invest, which unites the companies of the Šuška‘s brothers, the company Ostravské opravny a strojírny and the company Traťová strojní společnost, which owns the Louny wagon workshop, is included on the so-called blacklist of the state carrier ČD Cargo. In the Czech Republic, a sharp media campaign was launched against ČD Cargo and its management, due to the blacklisting of Rail Invest.

In the opinion of the Czech Minister of Transport, the company ČD Cargo has the right to include unreliable suppliers who violate the contractual conditions on black list. It can be assumed that the situation will be repeated in the future. These companies are thus automatically excluded from participating in public procurement and, according to experts, it is a very effective tool that can prevent future disputes over non-performance of contracts.

The companies of the Rail invest group of the Šuška‘s brothers were included on the black list of the state enterprise ČD Cargo. For several years OOS was one of the main suppliers of ČD and ČD Cargo. How could one of the leading suppliers be on the black list?

The reason was long-term disputes, which escalated during 2019. According to ČD Cargo, this was due to unreliability, delays in deliveries and non-standard actions of OOS. "However, our cooperation ended when the Rail Invest group began to breach significant contracts for the supply, repair and rental of wagons. Even a company connected with this group does not hesitate to usurp more than 1,000 wagons for which ČD Cargo paid, against what the management of ČD Cargo, with the care of a proper manager, fights by a court. ČD Cargo conducts litigations with companies connected with Rail Invest in the total value of around CZK 1 billion,“ said ČD Cargo in one of its statements on their website.

Shortly after the Šuška’s brothers were listed on the black list, an annoying media campaign against ČD Cargo and its management began in the Czech Republic, which also included the Šuška’s brothers' statements in the press. The articles challenge the agreement between ČD Cargo and SMK, which is part of the strong Budamar group. Under this contract, 500 wagons were modernized, which would otherwise have been scrapped. Thanks to the bark beetle calamity, there was an enormous demand for wagons for the removal of harvested wood. For this reason, ČD Cargo has decided that it will be better if the cars are reconstructed and used. The wagons were sold to SMK at a price determined by an expert opinion. SMK is subsequently performing the reconstruction of wagons, which are then to be leased back to ČD Cargo for 10 years (with an option for 15 years). The rent amounted to CZK 900 million. However, it is necessary to take into account the fact that these are 500 wagons, which were additionally reconstructed at SMK's own expense. ČD Cargo also repeatedly checked the prices and the entire supplier selection procedure was transparent.

The modernization was also scrutinized by the Railway Authority, which confirmed that the technical parameters and the whole modernization are in order and there is no reason to initiate administrative proceedings. ČD Cargo also had two independent expert opinions and an economic audit prepared. ČD Cargo's press release on the results states: "The results of independent assessments have clearly demonstrated the high technical quality of the modernization and the economic viability of the contract."

The fact that the Minister of Transport expressed his support for the institute of black lists is a big step forward not only in this case. The Minister stated his position on the black lists in an interpellations answer to questions from MP Krejza (right-wing ODS party), who is in the Parliament for the Ústí nad Labem region. This region houses the aforementioned wagon workshop in Louny, which stopped production after it became part of the Rail Invest group. Therefore, in his interpellation, MP Krejza also asked about the fate of the workshop. According to the Minister of Transport Havlíček, however, the situation in Louny is complicated and the preservation of jobs depends on the management of the company itself.

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