Rail Cargo Volumes Expected to Drop 24% This Year ({{commentsTotal}})

Cargo volumes moving along Estonia's railways are predicted to drop by a quarter, continuing a trend that began in 2007.

According to Estonian Railways, a total of 18.5 million tons of cargo will be transported via railways in Estonia this year, 24 percent less than in 2013. Although volumes have been decreasing since 2007, this year's drop is the sharpest since the decline began after the Bronze Night riots that year, when Russia began seeking other transport hubs.

Cargo represents 95 percent of the Estonian Railways, the state-owned railway network operator, income, with CEO Ahti Asmann saying the passenger side of rail usage must begin pay a larger share.

This year's decline means a 15-million euro hole in the company's budget. That money will either be covered by the state or the passenger rail company, the state-owned Elron.

Elron asked the Ministry of Economic Affairs at the beginning of September for permission to increase ticket prices by 8 to 10 percent as a possible per-emtive move, although Elron cited a planned increase in capacity as the reason.