Mažeikiai regains railway connection with Latvia
A train heading for Latvia left the Mažeikiai refinery today. ORLEN Lietuva will again export its products via Renge after a 12-year break, as Lithuanian Railways fulfilled its commitment in December last year to rebuilt a 19 kilometre long railway section, thus restoring the shortest rail route from the Mažeikiai refinery to Latvia, dismantled in 2008.
“The return of the rail link between Mažeikiai and Latvia marks another step in the successful restoration of healthy, partnership-based governmental relations between Poland and Lithuania after 2016. It’s sort of rectifying the mistakes of the past. Good cooperation produces tangible economic benefits for both parties: increased security of the ORLEN Group’s revenues and a source of revenue for Lithuania’s state budget. The Mažeikiai plant is a vital part of the ORLEN Group and the sole refinery in the Baltic States which guarantees energy security and balance in the region,” said Daniel Obajtek, CEO and President of the PKN ORLEN Management Board.
“We have worked hard for two years to be able to officially dispatch the first train carrying fuel from Mažeikiai to Latvia today. It’s a sight no ORLEN Group employee has seen since 2008,” said Michał Rudnicki, CEO and President of the ORLEN Lietuva Management Board.
The collaboration between PKN ORLEN and Lithuanian Railways was stepped up on August 14th 2018, when the chiefs of the two companies, Daniel Obajtek and Mantas Bartuška, signed a memorandum of understanding to expand cooperation between the Polish oil refiner and LR. It was also the time when the project to rebuild the Mažeikiai-Renge railway line, now completed, was initiated. Also, an agreement which guarantees the current freight volumes to the Baltic States will be maintained and contributes to significantly increasing the volumes of products brought into Poland was extended in January 20th 2019.
The year 2017 marked increased bilateral relations at the governmental level between Poland and Lithuania. President Andrzej Duda has visited Lithuania twice and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki three times since 2017. Mr Morawiecki was also the first Polish Prime Minister to visit the Mažeikiai refinery and meet Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis there.
The disassembly of the tracks to Renge became a symbol of bad relations between Poland and Lithuania. It also had an adverse impact on the operational efficiency and performance of PKN ORLEN’s Lithuanian refinery for many years. The situation has improved significantly in recent years. A dialogue has been established between PKN ORLEN and its key Lithuanian partners, and the numerous disagreements that remained unresolved for years have finally been settled. Now the circuitous, more difficult and logistically more expensive route through Šiauliai will no longer have to be used.