On 5 January 2015, the EC announced that it has sent a statement of objections (SO; preliminary statement of case) to Lithuanian railway incumbent AB Lietuvos geležinkeliai (LG) to investigate whether it limited competition on the rail markets in Lithuania and Latvia by removing a railway track.
In September 2008, LG suspended traffic on a railway track running between Lithuania and Latvia. One month later, LG dismantled the track and has not rebuilt it. The EC’s initial view is that since this limits the number of rail connections between Lithuania and Latvia for international freight traffic, it could limit competition on the rail markets in Lithuania and in Latvia, in particular, by preventing a major customer of LG from redirecting its railway freight to Latvia using the services of other rail operators. The EC considers that this could amount to the illegal abuse of a dominant position by LG.
This case shows once again that the scope of illegal abuses of a dominant position can be very wide. Companies which are struggling against the actions of a dominant or potentially dominant competitor, supplier or customer should take notice.