5 Oct 2022 13:18

Russian Railways prepared to monitor transport cos' rates if no one else willing - exec

MOSCOW. Oct 5 (Interfax) - Russian Railways (RZD) is prepared to assume responsibility for monitoring the rates of transport companies if there is no one else willing to do this, the company's deputy CEO, Alexei Shilo told reporters.

"While there is such transparency for rates in regard to RZD - one can agree with the rates or not agree, but at least everyone knows these rates and these costs are clear to everyone - for ports, despite the obligation to publish their transshipment rates, not all ports do this today. That's the first thing," he said.

"The second thing is that there are absolutely different terms for different clients, including contracts that are not public, that are commercial information, they different significantly from the rates that are published on the websites of given ports," Shilo said.

"Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for someone independent to collect this information, verify, in order to make decisions on support for given sectors based on these data," he said.

He said that RZD has suggested to the Transport Ministry that this could be done by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), "not in terms of inspections, but in terms of regular activity."

"Right now we believe that there is no such system of monitoring on a regular basis. We're saying that if no one wants to monitor, then we're prepared to monitor and are asking that we be supported in this. But if someone takes this on, we will be only glad and will then approach either the Transport Ministry or the FAS so that we can use this information for making our decisions," Shilo said.

However, there has not been any progress in this direction yet. "So far we have not achieved any result here," Shilo said.

Kommersant, citing a letter Shilo wrote to the Transport Ministry, reported in August that RZD had proposed to collect information about rates in related sectors, such as freight rail operators, transhipment at ports and vessel charters.

While RZD's rates are set by the government, "other market participants (rolling stock operators, marine terminals, shipping companies) look foremost to their own profit when determining rates and the availability of provided services, often not taking into account the interests of the state and the social importance of ensuring shipment of certain types of freight," Shilo said in the letter said.

Information about the prices charged by freight rail operators and shipping companies is not published in most cases and, despite rules of non-discriminatory access, terminal operators "do not post information on their official sites or post only partially," the paper said, citing the letter.