New CEO says HZ should prepare for market liberalisation

Photo Copy of HZ logo_12.jpg

The main task of the new management of the national railway operator Hrvatske Zeljeznice (HZ) is to prepare the company for market liberalisation after Croatia's accession to the EU, HZ Holding CEO Rene Valcic said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Programmes should be defined for the restructuring of all companies making up HZ Holding considering the forthcoming liberalisation of the railway services market, and the biggest challenge in that process will be cargo transport, which, unlike passenger transport, already has competition at its door, said Valcic.

He said that the success of the new management would also depend on the government's financial support, which he said was not a matter of concern.

Asked by reporters if that was really so given cuts in budgetary funds for the railway operator, Valcic said that the state budget did not have to be the only source of financing and that railway projects could be financed with loans.

He mentioned in that context the interest of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank and the World Bank in financing railway projects in Croatia. The government will invest in the railway infrastructure because it has the obligation to maintain it, as well as to comply with EU requirements, particularly regarding railways of international importance, said Valcic.

Asked if the new management planned to reduce the number of HZ employees and by how many, Valcic said that there was a surplus of workers at the HZ but that their number is far lower than the figures mentioned in the media lately.