Railway undertaking licence

An undertaking must apply for a licence for operation in the following areas of activity of the railways sector:

  • management of public railway infrastructure;
  • rail transport of passengers;
  • rail transport of goods.

The Estonian Competition Authority issues previously mentioned operating licences for an unspecified term.

An operating licence is not required for the transport of passengers on a non-public railway, which is not connected to the public railway network, and for extraordinary transport of passengers on non-public railways.

The activities of railway undertakings are regulated by the:

Requirements for an applicant

In order to be granted an operating licence an undertaking shall meet the following requirements:

  • the punishment register does not contain punishment records concerning the sole proprietor, company, members of the management board of the company or other persons with management rights about criminal offences in the first degree, economic criminal offences, criminal official misconduct, criminal offences in the areas of occupational health, safety or technical supervision, and they have not been punished for misdemeanours pertaining to the safety of railway traffic established in the Railways Act on more than two occasions or for misdemeanours pertaining to the area of social or labour law, or customs organisation, with the application of the maximum rate of punishment established for this misdemeanour;
  • an undertaking of a third country is registered in the commercial register of a contracting party to the European Economic Area agreement;
  • the sole proprietor, members of the management board of the company or other persons with management rights who are responsible for the management of the railway infrastructure, transport of passengers or transport of goods have sufficient professional knowledge and experience to ensure the safe operation of the undertaking and the reliable organisation and monitoring of its operation;
  • the undertaking is able to perform its actual and potential financial obligations for a period of at least 12 consecutive months;
  • the undertaking has liability insurance in order to compensate, pursuant to the Railways Act and international agreements, for any damages caused due to failure to perform its obligations or inadequate performance thereof;
  • the person responsible in the undertaking for the safety of railway traffic and railway traffic control holds a professional certificate;
  • the undertaking has submitted all necessary documents.

Cross-border operation

A foreign railway undertaking or association of railway undertakings of a foreign state need not apply for an operating licence for engagement in rail transport in Estonia if the undertaking or association holds a corresponding licence issued by the foreign state, and Estonia and the foreign state have agreed on mutual recognition of operating licences. Operating licences issued in other member states of the European Union are deemed to be valid in the Republic of Estonia. A railway undertaking or association of railway undertakings of a foreign state, including a member state of the European Union, shall apply to the Technical Surveillance Authority for part B of the safety certificate for engagement in rail transport in Estonia if a safety authority of another member state has issued part A of the safety certificate thereto.

If an undertaking holds an operating licence for the operating of public railway infrastructure in another State that is a Contracting Party to the European Economic Area (hereinafter EEA) Agreement, which by its subject of review predominantly corresponds to the Estonian operation licence and if its validity has not been confined to a territory or place of business situated outside Estonia, then such undertaking does not need a separate licence for railway infrastructure operation activity in Estonia. In such case, the foreign undertaking shall submit an application to the Competition Authority for exemption from the authorisation obligation, which contains the following information:

  • in the case of a sole proprietor, the name, personal identification code, in the absence thereof the date of birth, and business name upon the existence thereof, in the case of an undertaking which is a legal person, the business name and registry code;
  • address of the seat of the undertaking;
  • contact details of the undertaking (phone number, postal address and e-mail address);
  • name of the authority that has granted the authorisation and the date of issue of the latter.

If an Estonian undertaking holds operation licence for rail transport passengers, rail transport of goods and operation of public railway infrastructure, wishes to provide these services in another EEA state, it is recommended to contact relevant economic authority in that state with an inquiry prior to commencement of activity or applying for exemption from the authorisation obligation, as the procedure rules may differ from country to country.

Information on activities in other EEA states can be found in the EUGO Point of Single Contact of respective country.

Filling in and submitting the application

Together with the filled out licence application in addition to the data required by virtue of section 19 of the General Part of the Code of Economic Activities Act, the following documents are to be submitted to the Competition Authority:

  • a copy of the interim accounts as at the end of the month prior to submission of the application if an annual report does not exist or if the annual report submitted has been prepared and approved more than six months prior to submission of the application;
  • a list of the members of the management board or, of the persons who have the right to manage the company which shall set out the given names and surnames of the persons, their personal identification codes (or, in the absence thereof, the date of birth), residences, information concerning their education and professional experience, their recent places of work or service, and documents concerning the compliance of these persons with the established requirements.

A railway undertaking has to enter into a liability insurance contract pursuant to section 14 of the Railways Act. For operating it is required to hold an operational safety licence or a certificate issued by the Technical Surveillance Authority.

NB! Prior to the submission of the application, an undertaking pays the state fee at the rate provided for in the State Fees Act.

Application can be submitted:

Payment of the state fee

The state fee to be paid for adjudication of the licence application depends on the type of licence as follows:

  • 1920 euros for management of railway infrastructure;
  • 1920 euros or the provision of rail transport services for passengers;
  • 3840 euros for the provision of rail transport services for goods.

The state fees are paid to the bank account of the Ministry of Finance, with the reference number of 2900080076:

  • Swedbank – EE932200221023778606
  • SEB – EE891010220034796011
  • Luminor Bank – EE701700017001577198
  • Danske Bank –EE40330033416110002

Processing the application

The Competition Authority submits a preliminary reply to the applicant within three days as of receipt of application from the undertaking, which, among other, contains information on the validity term of the licence and the requirements for economic activities included in the subject of scrutiny of the licence.

The Competition Authority adjudicates the applications for licence by issuance or refusal to issue the licence within 30 days as of submission of all required data. If an undertaking fails to submit all the required information in its application, the Competition Authority notifies the undertaking thereof no later than on the working day following the day of detecting such failure, determining a reasonable time limit for remedy of the deficiency. If the undertaking still fails to submit sufficient information, the Authority may not adjudicate the application.

In case of necessity, the Authority may suspend the adjudication time limit for 30 days or prolong it for up to 30 days.

The operating licence is granted for an unspecified term, unless the undertaking himself applies for a limit on the validity.

The Competition Authority issues licence to the undertaking in the desired format, either in an electronic format or on paper.

Amending to the conditions of an activity licence

An undertaking holding an operating licence notifies the Competition Authority on changes in the circumstances of economic activity pursuant to the procedure prescribed in section 30 (1 - 3) of the General Part of the Economic Activities Code Act:

  • of an intention to change the circumstances related to the subject of review of the authorisation or the circumstances related to the ancillary conditions no less than 30 days before the intended change by an undertaking and no less than three months before the intended change by a provider of services of general interest (hereinafter notice on intention to change economic activities). A notice on intention to change economic activities shall also be submitted if an undertaking founds a subsidiary, which commences economic activities within the framework of the subject of regulation of the authorisation.
  • an undertaking notifies the Competition Authority promptly, but no later than within five working days, of changes in the circumstances related to the subject of review of the authorisation and circumstances related to the ancillary conditions that have occurred independently of the undertaking (hereinafter notice on change in economic activities).

If it appears from the notice that the changes bring along non-compliance with the economic activity requirements in the subject of review of the authorisation or the ancillary conditions of the authorisation, a need to review the economic activity requirements, amend the authorisation or apply for a new authorisation, the Competition Authority notifies the undertaking thereof immediately. If a need for amendment of the authorisation or application for a new authorisation appears, the notices are regarded as applications for amendment of the authorisation unless the undertaking has specified in the notice that it has no such wish.

The Competition Authority adjudicates applications for the modification (amendment) of an authorisation within 60 days.

Both the notice on intention to change economic activities and the notice on change in economic activities can be submitted to the Competition Authority by one of the following means:

Suspension of the operating licence and renouncement of economic activity

A railway undertaking notifies the Competition Authority on the temporary renouncement of economic activity no less than 30 days to 3 months in advance. If an undertaking renounces its economic activity for a specified term, it can specify the date of the resumption of operation.

NB! The right to renounce economic activities does not preclude the obligation of an undertaking under law, administrative act or contract to continue to pursue economic activities; and if such obligation to continue to pursue economic activities exists, the undertaking is deemed not to have renounced economic activities.

The notice on temporary renouncement of economic activities and the application on termination of the validity of the licence together with the grounds can be submitted to the

Competition Authority by one of the following means:

Revocation of the activity licence

A licence is revoked on the following bases:

  • intentional submission of incorrect information by an undertaking upon application for a licence, which affected the grant of a licence, provided that if such information had not been submitted, the grant of an licence would have been denied;
  • renouncement of economic activities by an undertaking;
  • validity of a relevant prohibition on economic activities imposed by a court judgment or arising from law in a relevant area of activity in respect of an undertaking, except for validity of a prohibition on economic activities imposed pursuant to the General Part of the Economic Activities Code Act.

The licence may be revoked on the following bases:

  • failure to commence economic activities within two years after issue of the authorisation or failure to pursue economic activities within two years, and in the case of provision of services of general interest, failure to commence economic activities within 12 months after issue of the authorisation or failure to pursue economic activities within 12 months or failure to commence economic activities within the term prescribed by an ancillary condition of the licence;
  • material violation of an economic activity requirement in the subject of review of the licence or ancillary condition of the licence;
  • a significant damage or danger caused to public order by the activity permitted by the licence, which did not exist or was not known at the time of grant of the licence and which overrides the interest of the undertaking in continuing the activity and which cannot be eliminated by amendment of the licence;
  • amendment of the ancillary conditions of the licence.

In addition, the Competition Authority may revoke the operating licence for the operation of public railway infrastructure and rail transport of goods in case, if:

  • the Technical Surveillance Authority has revoked the safety authorisation, safety certificate or operational safety certificate or has refused to issue or extend the safety authorisation, safety certificate or operational safety certificate;
  • an undertaking with an operating licence has not had a valid safety authorisation, safety certificate or operational safety certificate for at least six months;
  • the undertaking has not operated in the area of activity specified in the operating licence, safety authorisation, a safety certificate or an operational safety certificate within one year months after the issue of these documents;
  • the undertaking to whom the operating licence for rail transport of passengers and goods has been issued has not operated in the area of activity specified in the operating licence and safety certificate within one year after the issue of the safety certificate;
  • the undertaking violates the obligations arising from international agreements, as a result of which persons, property or the environment could be endangered, or international rail transport could be suspended.

A licence is revoked as of communication or delivery of the revocation decision to the undertaking.

Supervision

The refusal to grant an operating licence, suspension, termination and revocation of operating licences of the railways sector is authorised by law to the Estonian Competition Authority.

Contact details

Substantive information

Tiina Maldre, Competition Authority, tel: +372 667 2573, e-mail: tiina.maldre@konkurentsiamet.ee

Anu Vainik, Competition Authority, tel: +372 667 2572, e-mail: anu.vainik@konkurentsiamet.ee

Registry information and technical questions

Register of Economic Activities, tel: +372 668 7080, e-mail: register@mkm.ee

Last amended: 04-04-2017 10:46 | Compiled by: Competition Authority