VILNIUS – The first freight train left Lithuania's Mazeikiai for Renge in Latvia via the recently rebuilt railway section on Saturday morning.
"I am very glad we have such a day today when we are together and that means that we are capable of cooperation and, most importantly, we can trust others as our ability has a specific expression. And that expression, that rebuilding of this section, has positive consequences," Lithuanian Transport Minister Jaroslav Narkevic said during a symbolic event in Mazeikiai on Saturday.
Tomas Digaitis, spokesman for Lithuania's state-owned railway company Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LG, told BNS earlier that 45 railcars would take 2,700 tons of light oil products from Orlen Lietuva to the Latvian border. Latvia's railway company Latvijas Dzelzcels (Latvian Railways) would then take over the cargo over on the border and transport it to Riga.
The symbolic event was also attended by Latvian Transport Minister Talis Linkaits, Lithuanian Government Chancellor Algirdas Stoncaitis, Mazeikiai Mayor Vidmantas Macevicius, and representatives of LG, Orlen, Orlen Lietuva and Latvijas Dzelzcels (Latvian Railways).
The rebuilding of the 19-km railway section between Lithuania's Mazeikiai and Renge, in Latvia, which was dismantled over a decade ago, was completed in late December. The rebuilding cost 9.4 million euros and was carried out by Vitras-S, a railway construction and repairs company owned by Estonia's railway services group Skinest Rail.
Orlen Lietuva, the Mazeikiai-based oil refiner owned by Polish oil group Orlen, will now be able to take a shorter path to carry its product. Up until now, they have been carried from Latvia via Siauliai and Joniskis.
The track was rebuilt in line with LG's commitment to the European Commission, which in late 2017 imposed a fine of almost 28 million euros on the state railway company for hindering competition in the rail freight market.
Dismantled in 2008, the railway line was in the past used by the Mazeikiai-based oil refinery Orlen Lietuva, which is owned by Poland's Orlen, to transport its oil products to Latvia.