Lithuanian Railways (LG) will rebuild a 19-km section of rail tracks providing a shortcut to neighbouring Latvia, the company said on October 18.
LG’s decision to restore the tracks, which were dismantled in 2008, follows a fine of €28mn imposed on the company by the European Commission in early October. The Commission ruled that the dismantling of the tracks was an attempt by LG to push the Polish-owned Orlen Lietuva to haul production from the Mazeikai refinery to Lithuanian ports, using LG.
“It is likely that we will soon start rebuilding [of the section] to settle the issue," LG CEO Mantas Bartuska told a news conference, Leta reported.
The tracks provided convenient rail access to neighbouring Latvia. Polish-owned refiner Orlen Lietuva used the line to haul its product to Latvian ports, using another rail operator. Following the track removal, however, the Polish company faced using a much longer route to Latvia and in effect redirected transports to the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda.
The company has long said the dismantling of the line to Latvia was due to the line’s poor condition and did not affect the flow of goods between Lithuania and Latvia.
PKN Orlen also disputed Lithuanian Railways’ pricing of access to its infrastructure in a long-running dispute that at some point became a high-level flashpoint between the two countries and was only settled in June.
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