Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

ZSSK investigated for cartel on sale of used carriages

European authorities are investigating several companies including state-run carriers in neighbouring Austria and the Czech Republic.

Old carriages of ZSSK.(Source: Sme)

The European Commission (EC) suspects railway carriers including Slovak state-run carrier ZSSK of a cartel agreement in order to stymie competitors out of the market of used carriages. Already in late-June, investigation teams from the EC inspected companies in a number of EU member states.

During the inspections, EC seeks to verify whether companies have acted in accordance with the rules for sales of used train carriages. Inspection does not definitely mean that the company is guilty of committing a crime, said Andrej Králik of the Representation of the EC in Slovakia.

“Unannounced inspections of business premises are a preliminary step in investigation of unfair anti-competitive practices,” said Králik, as quoted by the Sme daily.

In addition to ZSSK, the EC is also investigating companies in neighbouring Austria and the Czech Republic. While Austria’s ÖBB confirmed the investigation to AFP news agency, České dráhy did not want to comment on the EC procedure, the Euro.cz website reported.

Jana Morháčová, spokeswoman of ZSSK, explained that while ZSSK itself lacks serviceable trains it sells only carriages after their life-cycle and in a state of high wear and tear for scrap.

“Exceptionally it sells carriages to civil associations dealing with railway transport as museum exhibitions,” Morháčová told Sme, adding that the company fully cooperates with the EC to ensure all necessary information.

Even in the past, the EC criticised that state-run railway companies in Europe prefer to scrap useless public locomotives and carriages, which after repair or modernisation could still serve in operation, before selling them to private carriers, said Desana Mertinková, railway transport expert and the editor-in-chief of Železničná Doprava magazine.

“The EC considers such practices as anti-competitive and conflicting with principles of a good landlord,” said Mertinková, as quoted by Sme, “the price of the vehicle is different when it is sold for further use or for scrap.”

Mertinková added that Regiojet bought in past older carriages from ÖBB, Deutsche Bahn and Switzerland’s SBB. In Slovakia, the problem is more visible in more liberalised freight transport where Antimonopoly Office penalized the state-run company Cargo which refused to sell unused locomotives to private carriers.

“Cargo avoided a similar penalty in the recent sale of 12,500 freight carriages when it sold also more than 4,000 carriages for their subsequent scrap,” Mertinková told Sme, “however, it cut down their accounting value of €40 million as its net loss that had to be covered from other sources.”

 

Topic: Transport


Top stories

LGBTI people in the regions: We change people’s minds

Bratislava will dress up in rainbow colours this August again, for the seventh time. This will be for the Bratislava Dúhový Pride diversity festival. But the colours of the rainbow are less bright in the regions,…

Slovakia’s LGBTI community seeks to expand their rights.

Things that make us different also make us stronger

On August 19, a rainbow flag will fly over the US Embassy in Bratislava to represent the firm commitment of the United States to defending the human rights of LGBTI people, writes Ambassador Sterling.

The rainbow flag flew over the US Embassy in Bratislava in 2016.

Blog: 5 things you should do on your visit to the north of Slovakia Photo

Here is a list of tips by an experienced tour guide - including things you have probably not tried before.

Bratislava growing high Photo

High-rise buildings sprouting up in Bratislava

Visualisation of the future skyline of Bratislava