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Port operator unhappy with bill on second rail track

Port operator unhappy with bill on second rail track
Koper-Port operator Luka Koper took issue with the bill on the construction of the second rail track that is to connect the Koper port with the inland hub Divača. The company finds the bill unacceptable especially because it introduces a special levy on the port to finance some of the loans for the construction.

According to the company's press release, the bill, which was presented on Friday and is in public discussion until Wednesday, fails at one of its basic aims - maintaining and improving the Koper port's competitive position.

On the one hand, the proposed levy on port transshipment would render Luka Koper unable to meet the benchmarks set by the state as the biggest owner, which would consequently mean the port could no longer invest in development in line with its long-term strategy.

If applied to last year's results, the proposed levy would amount to EUR 17.9m, which would reduce the company's EBITDA margin from 37.3% to 27.9% and return on equity from 13.8% to 9%. The Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) set the benchmarks for last year at 37% and 11.5%, respectively.

This would not only reduce the port operator's competitive edge in mid-term, but would also affect all businesses that are tied to the Koper port, the company wrote.

The company thus wonders about the sense of building additional railway infrastructure at all if it will hinder the port's development instead of enabling it.

On the other hand, Luka Koper also finds the proposed levy problematic with regard to the concession relationship between the port operator and the state.

Their contract from 2008 obliges the state to return any additional costs it may impose on the operator through new regulation, or reduce its fees accordingly./IBNA

Source: The Slovenia Times

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