Abuse of dominant position: the European Commission has fined Lithuanian Railways

On 2 October 2017, the European Commission imposed a fine of about 28 million euros on Lithuanian Railways (Lietuvos geležinkeliai) for its breach of EU antitrust rules in having hindered competition on the rail freight market. Lithuanian Railways is the incumbent state-owned rail company in Lithuania and is responsible for both railway infrastructure and rail transport.

In 2008, the company Orlen, one of the major customers of Lithuanian Railways, considered redirecting its freight from Lithuania to Latvia by using the services of another rail operator. In October of the same year, Lietuvos geležinkeliai dismantled a 19km long section of track connecting Lithuania and Latvia, close to Orlen‘s refinery. Because of this, Orlen was forced to use a much longer route to reach Latvia.

According to the Commission, this move hindered competition on the rail freight market since it prevented a major customer of Lithuanian Railways from using the services of another rail operator. Moreover, Lietuvos geležinkeliai failed to prove any objective justification for the closure.

Therefore, the Commission found that Lithuanian Railways breached Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.


Davide Scavuzzo