Ambitious plans for Latvijas dzelzceļš. The company will expand its operations and plans to modernize 48 railway stations. This is due to the forthcoming new electric trains.
Latvijas dzelzceļš does not have the best times. Transport volumes are falling, but infrastructure needs to be maintained and developed. Last week, the government decided to allocate a total of almost 60 million euros to support the company.
Before Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits was ready to direct such an aid package to the government, he expected a new business plan and measures to reduce expenses. Latvijas dzelzceļš explains that the spending has been cut. Since the beginning of the year, more than 1,100 employees have been terminated, and this number is expected to increase by another 300 in the coming months.
Introducing the new, approved business model, the head of the company acknowledged that the recent freight rates are the lowest in 20 years. This year, the infrastructure will be loaded only by a third. When working on the business plan, the company was faced with an existential decision – to give up transportation in general, becoming only the infrastructure manager, or to adapt and develop the company’s operations.
This new direction will be a wider involvement in the common logistics market – to also offer sea and road freight forwarding, terminal and warehousing services.
“We have a lot of requests that we cannot fulfill for one reason only – we lack these sections, we only deal with rail freight forwarding,” emphasizes Maris Kleinbergs, Chairman of the Board of Latvijas dzelzceļš.
At the same time, representatives of Latvijas dzelzceļš presented positive news to passengers today. The € 57 million program, co-financed by the European Union, envisages a major modernization of railway stations to take full advantage of the forthcoming new electric trains.
The stations will be modernized in the direction of Tukums, Skulti, Ozolnieki and Skriveri. It is also planned to create a new direction – Bolderāja. For the first time, the stations will have uniform visual guidelines, and their design is coordinated with the planned structures of the Rail Baltica project.