About 3,500 cargo railcars are idling, while waiting to be unloaded, at the Kaliningrad Railroad. This is time and a half as many as a year ago. According to the statement made at a press conference by Viktor Budovsky, the railroad's Director, the company's loss has already amounted to USD 1.25 million.
Mr. Budovsky said that prolonged holidays had nothing to do with the problem, which was rather due to the growth of unloading terminals lagging behind the growth of cargo flow. Having doubled over the past two years, cargo flow has reached the level of the peak year of 1988. In the meantime, the largest cargo owners, the seaports and petroleum tank farm, have not invested a penny in the development of railroad terminals. The only exception from this is the LUKoil Kaliningradmorneft company that invested USD 750,000 in the development in the Baltic Les railway station in 2002.
'The situation', Mr. Budovsky said, 'is rather strange in that the Ministry of Railroads, in the consideration of our enclave's situation, has afforded us preferential treatment without precedent to make the Kaliningrad rail route attractive to domestic cargo owners. Tariffs have gone down on October 31, 2001, while the railroad spends millions to increase its throughput capacity. In the meantime, cargoes are allowed to sit idly. Today, the merchant seaport can unload no more than 130 railcars daily while 10 times as many sit in waiting, 20 more trains arriving every day. The tank farm's rolling stock idles for 16 days at a time. If this continues, the preferential treatment our cargo owners enjoy now may be lost, the Ministry of Railroads loosing close to USD 2 million monthly.'
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