Lithuanian railways fined 20 million euros for dismantling tracks in Mazeikiai
The European Court upheld the court decision imposing a fine of about 20 million euros on the Lithuanian state railways for dismantling the tracks of the Orlen oil refinery in Mažeikiai. It is reported by Railway Supply magazine with reference to Rynek Kolejowy.
The Court of Justice of the European Union announced that it upheld the 2018 judgment against Lithuanian Railways. It was an appeal against a fine imposed by the European Commission. The court of general jurisdiction then dismissed LG’s complaint and reduced the fine from 28 million euros to 20 million euros. The decision of the court has now been approved by the CJEU.
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Lietuvos geležinkeliai AB simultaneously managed the railway infrastructure (now LTG Infra) and provided railway transport services in Lithuania. In 1999, LG entered into a commercial agreement with the fuel company Orlen Lietuva AB, owned by the Polish oil company PKN Orlen, to provide rail transport services in Lithuania. The contract provided for the transportation of oil products from an oil refinery owned by Orlen, located in Bugeni, to a marine terminal in Klaipeda (Lithuania). Following a dispute between LG and Orlen in 2008, the latter considered moving its marine cargo export activities from Klaipeda to sea terminals in Riga and Ventspils (Latvia) and in this context entrusted the transportation of its products from the refinery in Bugenia to the Latvian state-owned railway company Latvijas dzelzceļš (LDZ).
Due to the deformation of the railway tracks on a section of several tens of meters on a short route to Latvia, LG has suspended traffic on a 19-kilometer section between Mazeikiai (Lithuania) and the Latvian border. On October 3, 2008, LG began the complete dismantling of the rail track, which was completed by the end of October 2008. As a consequence, given that LG was not going to repair the disputed rail track in the short term, Orlen was forced to abandon plans to use LDZ services.
The mills of justice are slowly grinding, because it concerns the activities of 15 years ago. Interestingly, in 2019, after an agreement between Orlen and Lithuanian Railways, the line to Mazeikiai was rebuilt and launched again.
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