On 2 October 2017, the European Commission (EC) announced that it had fined Lithuanian railway incumbent AB Lietuvos geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) €27.9 million for limiting competition on the rail markets in Lithuania and Latvia.
In 2008, AB Orlen Lietuva, a major commercial customer of Lithuanian Railways and a subsidiary of Polish oil company PKN Orlen, considered redirecting its freight from Lithuania to Latvia by using the services of another rail operator. In October 2008, Lithuanian Railways dismantled a 19-kilometer section of track connecting Lithuania and Latvia, close to Orlen's refinery.
The EC found that these actions hindered competition on the rail freight market by preventing Orlen from using the services of the other operator. Lithuanian Railways failed to show any objective justification for removing the track.
The actions of Lithuanian Railways provide perhaps the clearest demonstration imaginable of an activity likely to be found an abuse of dominance. The case also shows once again that the scope of illegal abuses of a dominant position can be very wide. Companies struggling against the actions of a dominant or potentially dominant competitor, supplier or customer should take notice.