6 Dec 2017 09:40

Attendees of meeting with PM agree on 1.5% additional indexation of railway freight tariffs in 2018

GORKI. Dec 6 (Interfax) - Attendees of a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday reached an agreement on additional indexation of freight tariffs at 1.5% in 2018 to offset Russian Railways' (RZD) losses from tax decisions.

"Taking into consideration that certain prerequisites related to the company's operations are currently changing, including the adoption of a number of tax decisions, we have agreed that it will be possible to use 1.5% compensation next year to offset, within certain limits, the adopted tax decisions," Medvedev said in closing remarks to the meeting on railway tariffs.

"Another important thing for sectors, industry companies and the company itself is that it will be necessary to make a decision on the gradual elimination of the export surcharge," the prime minister said.

However, the Russian government still holds the position that indexation of freight tariffs should be curbed in the long term, he said. "We're proceeding from the assumption that both in the near future and the long term the tariff will be set according to the formula of 'inflation minus,'" Medvedev said.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, RZD head Oleg Belozerov, Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) head Igor Artemyev and the first deputy chief of the government staff, Maxim Akimov.

Medvedev also called for long-term discounts on railway freight tariffs within the context of RZD's right to vary rates for its services. "It's very important that our companies that are planning development get long-term discounts of up to 50% of the tariff component," he said.

He also said it is necessary to work out the issue of rolling stock availability in Russia. "I think that it would be right to consider at a meeting of [RZD's] board of directors and if necessary prepare regulations, government acts, subordinate acts, acts of agencies on issues concerning the reduction of the cost of railcars for freight shippers," Medvedev said.

"See what can be done. I'm not predetermining decisions here, but such measures can and should be worked out, including an analysis of possibilities related to the creation of a reserve fleet. How to create it, the location of its creation, the size of the railcar component - all this needs to be clarified again. And I ask you to report your proposals to me," Medvedev said.

"In order to promote the sound development of planning of shipments, in order to encourage the use of the electronic platform, we agreed that no higher payment will be charged for empty car mileage, other means of transport that freight shippers use if the electronic platform is used and everything is done according to the rules that are in effect. And if this happens on some other principles - and there is a lot of nontransparency, frankly speaking, murkiness there - then it will be possible to use a fine of up to 5% for empty mileage," Medvedev said.

He said that hopefully these decisions will ensure the stable development of RZD and create a "decent economic situation for freight shippers, receivers and citizens."