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CEO METRANS RAIL, Hořínek: Due to a Lack of Parts from Ukraine and Russia, Carriers Will Be Forced to Shut Down Wagons

CEO METRANS RAIL, Hořínek: Due to a Lack of Parts from Ukraine and Russia, Carriers Will Be Forced to Shut Down Wagons
foto: Archive/Martin Hořínek/President of Ž Hořínek, "Due to a Lack of Parts from Ukraine and Russia, Carriers Will Be Forced to Shut Down Wagons"
30 / 04 / 2022

In his presentation Pardubice Railways 2022, the president of Ž and CEO of METRANS RAIL, Martin Hořínek described the situation of railway freight forwarders in the changing times, the POZE problem, the general increase in costs, and the pressure on freight prices. According to Martin Hořínek, what is affecting freight rail transport the most?

In addition to the unfavorable situation in Ukraine, it is mainly the skyrocketing energy prices and the lack of spare parts. As an example, he cites the lack of wheels for locomotives and railcars. Two-thirds of production capacity is in Russia or Ukraine, and the remaining one-third cannot make up for such a significant shortage. "Our members, the car owners, also have to deal with the problem that they will probably be stopping cars because they can't make wheel replacements after a revision," Hořínek stated. At the same time, the need for needed investment remains, but the necessary ever-increasing costs are being held back by the growing recession.

We are talking about an 81% increase in traction power prices compared to last year, and logistics operations such as storage, transshipment, and delivery to the final station are also becoming more expensive. The most significant difference is felt by carriers in fuel-intensive activities. Long-term problems are also caused by outages, which Hořínek calls a condition that carriers are getting used to. "We know that repairs and upgrades are needed. We're discussing with the railroad administration the possibility of coordinating so that we freight carriers can ride, too," he added.

According to Hořínek, the costs cannot be compared only to inflation, the actual cost is much higher because of the rising price of traction electricity. In addition, many foreign customers view the final price through the prism of the financial situation in their own country, where fluctuations may not be as drastic. "We, as ŽESNAD, are fighting for some kind of relief in the form of a renewable energy fee rebate because we make transportation environmentally friendly if we run on electric traction," he explained the efforts to support rail freight carriers. Currently, there are two ways to do that. From the one that serves as partial compensation for the impact of the pandemic, carriers have received payments for 2020, but there is no promise for last year. "We got a signal from the Department of Transportation that we probably won't get it because it's not in the budget," he said.

Another endorsement is the POZE repeal. Despite an amendment to the law exempting railroads from the fee, the fees continue. It is a crucial problem for freight operators who calculate prices without POZE.

At the end of the discussion, the president of Ž focused on freight transport within the European Union. "The operation of the European Union is very problematic, which, once again, leads to further enormous costs for carriers," criticized Hořínek of some regulations that currently include digital automatic couplers, where the cost per conversion is estimated at CZK 750 million.

"Sometimes we do more work than we should, and it's again attacking from the European Union, which forces us to keep track of whether we left on time and arrived on time, and hires dozens of people on carriers," Ž president Hořínek concluded his presentation.