The Estonian state-owned railway infrastructure company Estonian Railways (EVR) has filed a lawsuit against the state-owned rail cargo operator Operail for €6.4 million in payments.
Operail finds the action for additional money to be ungrounded.
"We have been carrying freight on EVR infrastructure under valid agreements for nearly ten years," Operail CEO Raul Toomsalu said in a press release. "Invoices have always been paid by means of advance payments. The claim lodged against us today is incomprehensible and we consider it to be fully ungrounded."
He noted that the dispute involves an agreement on the use of railway infrastructure concluded six years ago, but added that the company cannot offer additional comments at this time as the court has accepted the action.
EVR announced on its part that the action concerns the railway infrastructure fee for the past three years that EVR has partially not received.
"An audit of accounts revealed that Operail has not paid in recent years the fee for the use of the railway for all services used," EVR CEO Erik Laidvee said.
He explained that the portion not paid by Operail is the standing cost portion of the fee for unladen locomotive journeys, which is set forth in law and has been endorsed by the Technical Regulatory Authority.
Laidvee noted that other carriers have paid the standing cost portion in full.
According to the railway infrastructure company, the filing of the lawsuit was preceded by negotiations lasting several months, and the amount due but left unpaid is €6.1 million euros.
Operail, which until June 2018 operated under the EVR Cargo brand, is an Estonian state-owned railway company whose primary business areas include freight transport, locomotive and wagon maintenance and construction, and rolling stock rental. The company employs 680 people.
Operail has been operating as a standalone company following its separation from the state-owned Estonian Railways in 2012.
Both companies are fully state-owned entities in the area of government of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.
Editor: Aili Vahtla