Rail mar­ket all but closed

Kathimerini English - - Focus - ILIAS BELLOS

De­spite two pri­vate com­pa­nies be­ing granted li­censes to op­er­ate rail­way ser­vices last year, Greece has not yet ful­filled its obli­ga­tion as a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Union to open up the do­mes­tic mar­ket to any­one in­ter­ested in en­ter­ing the pas­sen­ger and freight rail in­dus­try.

For the li­censees to pro­vide th­ese ser­vices, they would not only have to hire or buy lo­co­mo­tives and car­riages, but also train and cer­tify their own con­duc­tors. How­ever, the Hel­lenic Rail­ways Or­ga­ni­za­tion (OSE), which is re­spon­si­ble for the cre­ation and op­er­a­tion of agen­cies to train and cer­tify con­duc­tors, has not launched the rel­e­vant process, ac­cord­ing to trans­port in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als and Vas­silis Tsia­man­tis, pres­i­dent of the Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity for Rail­ways (RAS), the watch­dog that li­censes rail­way com­pa­nies.

Rail Cargo Lo­gis­tics Goldair and Pi­raeus Europe Asia Rail Lo­gis­tics Ltd sub­mit­ted ap­pli­ca­tions to RAS and were cleared to re­ceive their li­censes last year. But while at­tempt­ing to get down to busi­ness and gath­er­ing all the nec­es­sary doc­u­ments and per­mits, they have run into the ab­sence of the agency that is sup­posed to train and cer­tify train con­duc­tors.

“It is ob­vi­ous that with­out the ca­pac­ity for train­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for this vi­tal pro­fes­sion in the sec­tor, the rail­way mar­ket in Greece will re­main closed, with all the con­se­quences that this en­tails,” noted Tsia­man­tis.

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