State-owned railway infrastructure company Estonian Railways (EVR) saw losses deepen to €10.8 million in 2016, up from €6.3 million in 2015, and revenues shrink 10.6 percent year over year to €43.3 million.
After covering losses from the previous years' earnings, the company will have €75.2 million in retained profits, it appears from its annual report.
Last year, 12.5 million tons of goods were transported on infrastructure owned by EVR, 18.7 percent or 2.9 million tons less than the year before, while domestic passenger train traffic showed a continued upward trend. The number of kilometers traveled by passenger train operator Elron's trains grew 9.2 percent to 4.1 million, accounting for 71.1 percent of the total number.
As passenger trains using tracks belonging to EVR are, contrary to freight trains, exempt from a fee for kilometers covered, Elron paid merely €2.96 million in basic infrastructure user fees last year. EVR noted, however, that this sum was 11.7 percent larger than in 2015.
Passenger trains' exemption meant €28.2 million in lost revenue for the company, it said in the annual report. EVR informed the owner of the non-functioning of the methodology currently used to calculate infrastructure user fees at the general annual meetings in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In absence of a solution, it has been forced to postpone several investments needed for maintaining the quality of rail infrastructure. The company invested €15.4 million in 2016, however it estimates that more than twice as much money should be poured into its railways to maintain quality.
EVR had on average 799 employees in 2016, 16 fewer than in 2015, whose wage costs totaled €12.7 million.
Editor: Aili Vahtla