The Romanian state rail carrier, CFR Marfa, has stated that there is no justification for the decision by the Ukrainian Railways joint-stock company (JSC Ukrzaliznytsia) to stop coordinating cargo transportation from Ukraine and transit cargo through Ukraine to Romania, which JSC Ukrzaliznytsia announced on February 1, 2019.

CFR Marfa stated this in a letter sent to the CFTS portal on Monday, February 4.

"I want to declare to you that the information stating that there is no bilateral agreement on international transport operations is false and that the contract No. 30/2012-TsU dated 03.01.2012 between JSC Ukrzaliznytsia and the CFR Marfa state carrier is valid (for an indefinite period). In addition, the supplementary agreement No. 3/2018 (which stipulates the rates for the use of JSC Ukrzaliznytsia’s wagons and other rates for operations and services, which significantly increased in 2018) is also valid for an indefinite period," the Romanian state rail carrier’s General Director Marinica Voicu said in the letter.

According to the company, even if there are no bilateral agreements, the Agreement on Rules for the Use of Freight Wagons in International Traffic (PGV), which was signed by both JSC Ukrzaliznytsia and CFR Marfa, remains in effect. This agreement regulates international rail freight transport, including reception/transfer of wagons at the border and the fees for use of wagons, works, and services.

CFR Marfa stated that it has officially demanded that the management of Ukrzaliznytsia “take the necessary measures to resume coordination of all cargoes and volumes as soon as possible and stop actions that harm not only our partnership, but also customers, who will search for alternative modes of transport, which will lead to a significant drop in transit revenues for Ukrzaliznytsia."

The CFTS portal received similar letters from Polish (PKP Cargo) and Hungarian (Rail Cargo Hungaria) railway operators last week.

The Polish railway operator said that JSC Ukrzaliznytsia’s actions were prompted by "a desire to force carriers on the 1435-millimeter gauge to accept another unreasonable increase of the rates for use of wagons (and other payments, which are already higher than PGV rates and significantly higher than the rates that apply between carriers in the CIS, ) within one year."

The Hungarian railway operator said that the disruptions of supplies of raw materials caused by Ukrzaliznytsia’s ultimatum would impede the operations of the Danube steel plant in Hungary, Voestalpine AG’s Austrian steel company, and the Smederevo steel plant in Serbia.