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More Countries Interested in Cargo 10 Rail Project

Dobrovo, 27 October (STA) - Slovenian, Serbian and Croatian national railway operators, which established a joint company named Cargo 10 in early September, were joined by Macedonia in October. Bulgaria, Austria and Italy are also interested in the project, Robert Vuga of Slovenske zeleznice said on Wednesday.

"The alliance has come to life," the head of the freight transport section at rail operator Slovenske zeleznice said, noting that the joint company was still in the process of making.

Cargo 10 aims at achieving shorter customs procedures along the tenth pan-European cargo corridor going from Austria to the south of the Balkans.

The first cargo train as part of the project left Serbia's Paracin on 4 October and took 21 hours to get to Italy instead of the 30 hours as before. "Time savings were created at customs and other logistic check-ups, where the advantages of the alliance are already starting to show in practice."

The German and Greek railway operators also deem the project promising and would like to join in, according to Vuga. In order for the tenth corridor to be efficient, Turkey will also have to be included, he added.

"An efficient tenth corridor is a big opportunity not just for us, but also for all those players on the logistics market which need capability for their growth, because the forth railway corridor is overloaded and 900 km longer than the tenth."

Today's meeting of Slovenske zeleznice's business partners in freight transport in Dobrovo was attended by some 150 customers from Slovenia and abroad.

Vuga said that exports represented as many as 90% of the total turnover in freight transport, while some 40% of it were connected to Luka Koper, the operator of Slovenia's sole commercial port.

"Given our infrastructure, we cannot significantly boost this cooperation, which is why we want to foremost boost freight transport on the tenth corridor running through the territory of former Yugoslavia and then connect to Turkey through Bulgaria and to Greece through Macedonia.

"We have big capacities and reserves there, which is illustrated also by the fact that eight million tonnes of freight was transported through Dobova in 1989, while last year only two tonnes were transported," Vuga said, referring to a border town on the Ljubljana-Zagreb route.

Slovenske zeleznice boosted its freight transport by 21% this year compared to 2009, while revenues from transport were up by 23%. Total revenues increased by 26%. The company plans to finish the year with a EUR 15m loss instead of the planned EUR 21m.

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