Heavy snowfall and strong winds disrupt train services in western Georgia
The Georgian Railways company has issued a statement about the delays and problems caused by the bad weather in western Georgia. According to the statement, heavy snowfall and strong winds have affected the railway infrastructure and the movement of trains in the region.
The company said that it has mobilized all its resources and personnel to deal with the situation and restore the normal operation of the railway as soon as possible. The statement also apologized to the passengers and customers for the inconvenience and asked for their understanding and patience.
The bad weather has also caused damage to some railway buildings and facilities, such as the station in Kutaisi, the second largest city in Georgia. The roof of the station collapsed due to the weight of the snow, injuring two people who were inside the building. The injured were taken to the hospital and their condition is stable, according to the Georgian Railways.
The company said that it will repair the damage and ensure the safety of the railway infrastructure and the passengers.
Georgian Railways faces challenges and opportunities amid the pandemic
The bad weather is not the only challenge that the Georgian Railways has faced this year. The company has also been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reduced the demand for passenger and freight transportation.
According to the financial report of the company, the revenue of the Georgian Railways decreased by 1.7% in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, reaching 305.7 million GEL (about 94.5 million USD). The main reason for the decline was the drop in freight shipments, which accounted for 55.7% of the total revenue.
However, the company also saw some positive trends, such as the increase in revenues from logistics services, passenger services, and cargo management. The company also improved its profitability and efficiency, reducing its operating expenses by 6.4% and increasing its net profit by 16.3% in the first half of 2023.
The company has also implemented several projects and initiatives to modernize and develop the railway sector in Georgia. For example, the company has completed the construction of the new railway section between Khashuri and Moliti, which will increase the capacity and speed of the railway. The company has also upgraded its fleet of railcars and locomotives, and installed new signaling and communication systems.
The company has also participated in the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, which connects China, Central Asia, the Caspian Sea, Georgia, Turkey, and Europe. The route offers a fast and cost-effective alternative for transporting goods between Asia and Europe, and has the potential to boost the trade and economic cooperation in the region.
Georgian Railways prepares for the reform and restructuring of the railway industry
The Georgian Railways is also preparing for the reform and restructuring of the railway industry, which aims to harmonize the Georgian legislation with the EU standards and create a new institutional framework for the railway sector.
The draft law on amending the Georgian Railway Code has been submitted to the Parliament for approval. The law envisages the separation of the functions of the state and the railway operator, the establishment of an independent railway regulator, and the introduction of competition and market access in the railway sector.
The reform and restructuring of the railway industry is expected to increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of the Georgian Railways, and create more opportunities for its business development and safety management.
The Georgian Railways is a company with a 150-year history, and plays a vital role in the transportation and economic development of Georgia. The company faces various challenges and opportunities amid the changing environment, and strives to overcome the difficulties and achieve its goals.