Difficult Start for Open Railway Freight Transport Market in Serbia
Railway freight transport market was open for competition in 2016. Four years after the liberalization of this market, World Bank and Commission for Protection of Competition conducted a research within the framework of Program for Improvement of Business Environment in Serbia, with the goal of examining the competitiveness in this sector.
The research analyzed whole market of railway freight transport, including the entire value chain, regulatory environment and the market competition.
Presenting the findings of the report, Commission concluded that no significant elements which point to anticompetitive practices were found. The main reasons of insufficient market development detected were bad quality of infrastructure, recent liberalization of the market and price regulation in the internal market.
The factors contributing to the negative impact of infrastructure are low quality of railway infrastructure, outdated procedures for slot granting and lack of intermodal terminals, which expectedly presents a barrier to market entry and business development.
In addition, price regulation through fixed tariffs for internal transport which are set by the Serbian Government for Serbia Cargo, and which have not been changed since 2008 are additional barrier to price competitiveness.
Commission thanked all the participants in the research and invited expert public to give additional comments to the report.
As a part of the World Bank Program for Improvement of Business Environment, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the Government of Serbia and International Financial Corporation, which, among other things, provides technical support of the World Bank for improvement of fair competition and market regulation.