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Infrastructure / Innovations 11 September, 2018 10:00 am   
Editorial staff

Masiulis: You shouldn’t do to friends what we did about Mažeikiai. Let’s forget about the issue

28th Economic Forum in Krynica was an opportunity to meet Rokas Masiulis, Minister of Transport and Communications of Lithuania and talk about common projects and international infrastructure cooperation.

BiznesAlert.pl: PKP Cargo and Lithuanian Railways have signed a letter of intent during this year’s Economic Forum in Krynica. What projects will be developed together by these two companies?

Rokas Masiulis: Historically Lithuania has been a crossroad for the cargo going from East to West – from our port in Klaipeda to Belarus or Russia. Almost 90 per cent of cargo in Lithuania is moved in horizontal direction – from Vilnius to Klaipeda. When Polish-Lithuanian relations were far from perfect, the route from South to North was not developed. PKP Cargo is a big company and we are exploring big opportunities, and Lithuanian Railways are starting to change the area of focus. I believe that both side will benefit from a tighter collaboration. PKP Cargo can gain access to new markets, by sending cargo to Kaunas where it can be re-distributed and go even further to the north, for example to Finland, Russia, or even to Kazakhstan and China. Lithuanian Railways can get access to new markets as well. I count on this relationship.

Much has changed about the matter of Renge-Mažeikiai route. What is the attitude of Lithuanian authorities towards this issue?

Lithuania dismantled the railroad from Mažeikiai to Renge in Latvia, and it brought a lot of bad blood between Lithuania and Poland, who considered this behavior as unfriendly. In my opinion, it was a very unwise decision by former management of Lithuanian Railways. You should not do it to friends, it was a totally unacceptable and impolite thing to do. Rebuilding this track is a move that we have to make to forget the story. Now we are looking forward to developing further cooperation.

What is the stage of the major Three Seas projects: Rail Baltica and Via Carpatia?

There is a good progress. Poland and Lithuania are planning to finalize the connection by the end of 2022 or 2023, we have already found the funds, now it is the time to start the construction. This project is probably the most advanced of all we have talked about.

Interview conducted by Michał Perzyński