Liberalization Of Railway Freight Transport in Croatia

  •  Liberalization Of Railway Freight Transport in Croatia

    Authors: Dragica Flam, Nataša Oliva Prgeša, Kristijan Solina

    Key words: liberalization, railway, freight transport, railway infrastructure, railway services

    A step toward freight transport liberalization and making of single European railway market was done back in the 1990´ when first railway Directives were adopted. First legislative measures were made in order to manage accounting separation of infrastructure management and transport operations.
    The following package of directives enabled an access to the single freight railway undertakings from the EU Member States on TEN-T network and further  step  envisaged with the same package was a free access to the network  for  freight transport operating activities (domestic and international).
    By means of the second railway package in 2004 the whole EU freight transport market of was opened.
    At the same time, in the  Republic of Croatia, Act on Croatian Railways (OJ No 53/94, 139/97 and 162/98) was in force according to which  the activity of public transport of passengers and goods in domestic and international railway transport, as well as the construction, modernization and maintenance of railway infrastructure and the modernization and maintenance of railway vehicles as an activity of public interest was entrusted to the public company HZ Croatian railways, which shows that the activity in this period could not be performed by any other railway undertaking, apart from this public company.
    According to the Amendments   to Railway Act (OJ No 123/03, 30/04, 153/05, 79/07, 120/08 i 75/09) it was prescribed   that starting from the date of accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union the licenses issued to railway undertakings by the competent authorities of other Member States of the European Union would be accepted. This was accomplished 1 July 2013 and it could be taken as the date of legal liberalization of the rail freight transport in the Republic of Croatia.
    According to the Amendments to railway legislature and Railway Act (OJ No 94/13, 148/13) from the middle of 2013 the freight transport market was completely liberalized and Recast Directive was implemented into the legal order of the Republic of Croatia Real or practical liberalization happened in March 2014 when the first new rail freight undertaking fulfilled all the conditions for carrying out activities of rail freight transport.
    The first competition to incumbent freight rail undertaking actually appeared when new entrants achieved first transport results at the end of 2015. The possibility of using rail infrastructure for all rail freight undertakings and the emergence of new undertakings sets certain requirements in providing the services by infrastructure manager. In addition to the basic service of using lines and tracks for train, the key role was placed on service facilities managers and service providers in service facilities.
    Definition of railway services and methodology for calculating the charges are a key factor for market transparency which should be directed to the needs of railway undertakings. At the time of the integrated railway companies the segmentation service was not needed, and the necessity for definition of rail services appeared during the separation of rail transport from the management of railway infrastructure.
    In Croatia, according to Railway Act (OJ No 94/13, 148/13) railway transport market is consisted of services and entities in the market. Thus defined market operated by the infrastructure manager and operators of service facilities providing the railway services selected as needed in different groups: minimum access package, access to service facilities and to the services provided in these facilities, including track access to service facilities, additional and ancillary services.
    Railway infrastructure is defined by the Railway Act as a public good in general use, which under equal and transparent conditions should be available to all railway undertakings. The liberalization of the railway market tends to improve the quality of rail services for the railway transport users and in the same time reduce the maintenance costs of railway infrastructure and traffic management for the amount of compensation which is collected from the railway undertakings. Market development is reflected in the increasing number of service users, but also in the number market condition indicators, and the amount of services used, which will be presented through market indicators in the final part of this paper.