Estonian state-owned international logistics and transport company Operail saw record high earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of €13.2 million in the first three quarters of 2019, exceeding its results on year by 11 percent.
Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), meanwhile, grew by 12 percent on year to €8.3 million, with net profit up 3 percent on year to €7.5 million. The company's total turnover for the first nine months remained steady on year at €55 million, Operail said in a press release on Friday.
"We are pleased to note we have the capacity to grow even further, and that our profitability has improved greatly," Operail CEO Raul Toomsalu said. "Freight transport is currently problematic in Estonia, and therefore our strategy foresees profitable growth in export markets. Our concern is the constant increase of charges for the use of railroad infrastructure. This is our biggest expense item, and in very tight competition it is discouraging the entirety of Estonian transit in the long term."
Operail's wagon rental business, meanwhile, continues to see rapid growth, with the company's nine-month rental income increasing by almost one half to €9.2 million. According to Toomsalu, Operail's rolling stock includes over 3,500 wagons, over 2,150 units of which have been rented out.
According to Toomsalu, freight traffic volumes have shown a slight decreasing trend. In the first nine months of 2019, Operail carried 9.9 million tons of goods, down 1 percent on year.
"The rapidly growing wagon rental market compensates for the decline in freight volumes for us, but of course we are actively looking for solutions to bring more goods to the railroad," he explained. "In the first nine months of this year, we have greatly increased safety on the roads and have saved 5,800 trips by trucks, and have thereby brought an additional 68,000 tons of goods to the railroad."
The rail company is also developing innovations that will make a transport mode already significantly more environmentally friendly than road transport even more sustainable and efficient, the CEO noted, citing an LNG-powered locomotive project as an example.
Editor: Aili Vahtla