Estonian Railway blocks Spacecom deliveries

  • 2004-12-09
  • Baltic News Service
TALLINN - Eesti Raudtee (Estonian Railway) at midnight on Dec. 4 stopped letting through trains of Spacecom, a leading operator, saying it had canceled a temporary agreement that would have allowed the company to use the railroad infrastructure without a valid contract.

Estonian Railway said it canceled the agreement because AS Spacecom, a company with Russian capital, had been consistently violating the agreement and had not paid more than 30 million kroons (1.92 million euros) that it owed Estonian Railway.

Estonian Railway's PR manager, Priit Koff, said that while the company couldn't continue allowing Spacecom's trains to operate on its tracks, it had continued rendering services in order to abide by a court ruling and to give time for an application by Estonian Railway to be reviewed.

Koff said the rail company, which is two-thirds owned by a private investor and one-third by the state, was raising no obstacles to Spacecom's operation, yet because of the extraordinary nature of the arrangement, there could be deviations from timetables in the acceptance of trains. He said this was "normal" given the circumstances.

The two companies are entangled in a suit to establish fees for using rail infrastructure. Spacecom maintains it has abided by the agreement with Estonian Railway and has paid for using the rail infrastructure in accordance with the effective laws. Estonian Railway claims that Spacecom is trying to dictate its own prices - half the legal level - and has refused to pay bills.

Estonian Railway has appealed to the Tallinn City Court with a request to end securing the action by Spacecom or demand Spacecom to place a security deposit with the court until the dispute has been settled.

Spacecom applied to a court for legal protection last month, arguing that a price war between the two companies was underway and that a legal peace should be maintained until the case has been solved.