The Ukrainian company Dniprovagonmash has accused the Estonian state company EVR Cargo (a subsidiary of the Estonian railway) of setting unfavorable conditions for a tender for supply of covered freight cars. According to Dniprovagonmash, the conditions of the tender were drafted to ensure that that only Russian railcar producers can win, the ERR publication reports.

This week, a letter from the Ukrainian company was delivered to Estonia’s Minister of Economy and Infrastructure Kristen Michal and Minister of Entrepreneurship Liisa Oviir.

"Under the terms of the competition, only Russian railcar manufacturers can participate in it. Ukrainian railcar manufacturers are unable to participate because of lack of Russian RSFZHT certificates," Dniprovagonmash’s acting General Director Oleh Kornetskyi said in the letter to the ministers.

"Since 2013, the Federal Rail Transport Certification Register (RSFZHT) has unilaterally suspended all the conformity certificates that were previously issued to Ukrainian railcar enterprises as part of the economic war against Ukraine. Moreover, this agency does not accept applications for issuance of new certificates to Ukraine," Kornetskyi said.

According to Dniprovagonmash, its railcars are suitable for use in Estonia, as confirmed by Ukrainian certificates, which are similar to those issued by Russia. "The technical specifications for EVR Cargo’s tender were drafted in such a way that only one type of railcar – produced in Russia – meet the specifications. This completely eliminates the possibility of any competition between manufacturers," Kornetskyi said in the letter.

EVR Cargo’s head Toomsalu Raul commented on the situation. "I think everyone is aware of the current state of relations between Ukraine and Russia. Russia has banned the use of certain railcar parts on its territory. In such a situation, we cannot take risks for the next 30 years by buying railcars of Ukrainian origin. After all, we cannot operate these railcars only in Estonia," Toomsalu explained.

"There is a very great risk that our railcars will be stopped somewhere in Siberia, sent to a depot, and told to completely replace all its components before being allowed to travel further. We do not want find ourselves in such a situation," Toomsalu added.

"We would be willing to consider all proposals from Ukrainian enterprises, but our main partner is Russia. This is the reality. Russia sets its own rules today and we observe them. We send our railcars not to France or Germany, but specifically to Russia," Toomsalu concluded.

The deadline for submitting documents for participation in the tender is 12:00 on March 17.

Dniprovagonmash is a major railcar manufacturer in Ukraine controlled by the TAS financial and industrial group.