The rise in railway tariffs for freight transportation may increase the load on road transport and road infrastructure, as well as increase prices for final products in the energy and construction sectors.
This opinion was expressed by representatives of core business segments at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine.
“Ukrzaliznytsia, as a monopoly carrier, is once again simply raising tariffs. What will this mean for the cement industry: firstly, the prices for the transportation of coal will rise, and secondly, the prices for the transportation of raw materials and additives to cement will rise. Thirdly, prices will rise directly for the final product for the consumer,” Executive Director of the Association of Cement Producers of Ukraine (Ukrcement) Liudmyla Kripka said.
According to preliminary estimates of the association, such an increase in tariffs will affect both the cost of cement and the final product for the consumer by about 5-8%, which, in turn, will increase the cost of construction projects.
At the same time, Kripka said that Ukrzaliznytsia may not receive the expected income from the increase in tariffs due to the transfer of enterprise logistics to the segment of road transportation.
“As a result, Ukrzaliznytsia will not receive income, but the load on road transport will increase,” she said.
Director General of the Federation of Transport Employers of Ukraine Volodymyr Husak agreed with this forecast. According to him, Ukrzaliznytsia will not be able to implement the plan to receive about UAH 2 billion by the end of this year from the increase in freight rates.
“This money will not be available, as we will see an accelerated withdrawal of Ukrzaliznytsia’s clients primarily to highways. This trend has been observed for several years… Due to the reorientation of goods to highways, there will be an additional load. Roads will collapse faster. There will be no effect from the implementation of the Big Construction program of the President of Ukraine,” he said.
In addition, Husak said that due to the rise in the cost of transportation of building materials – crushed stone, cement – the volume of the Big Construction program will also decrease.
At the same time, maintaining low prices in the passenger segment and an increase in the cost of cargo transportation will ultimately lead to an increase in tariffs in the energy sector, Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Employers of the Fuel and Energy Complex of Ukraine Serhiy Chekh said.
“What will the implementation of this order [of the Ministry of Infrastructure] mean for us, power engineers? This is extra UAH 40-50 per tonne of transported coal and about 3% growth in the cost of electricity at the exit from the thermal power station,” he said.
Experts emphasize that for the effective development of the rail transport market, it is necessary to ensure equal competitive conditions, introduce projects for the use of private locomotives, and update legislation in this area. In addition, it is necessary to update the management and supervisory board of Ukrzaliznytsia for effective governance, to carry out its reform in accordance with the government’s plans.
As reported, earlier in July, the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine published a draft order on a two-stage increase in tariffs for cargo transportation of a group of goods of 1 and 2 tariff classes from September 2021 by 8%, and from January 2022 – by 20.4% and 6.5%.
The draft national budget of Ukraine for 2020, prepared for second reading, provides for UAH 73.7 billion to finance road infrastructure, which is 36% more than in 2019. According to Minister of Infrastructure Vladyslav Krykliy, the budget for 2020 doubles the cost of road safety to UAH 3.17 billion, and increases by five times financing for the development of airfield complexes, to UAH 1.07 billion.
Some UAH 500 million was laid for the construction and reconstruction of bridges, UAH 116 million for ensuring the operationally safe condition of shipping locks.
In addition, the minister noted that within the framework of projects with international financial organizations, it is planned to develop urban passenger transport in Ukrainian cities (UAH 400 million) and modernize the Ukrainian railway (UAH 200 million).
“From the second half of 2020, we expect additional financing for infrastructure development projects due to excess of customs VAT and excise taxes,” the minister added.