The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether debt write-offs by the Romanian state in favour of rail freight operator CFR Marfa, and the failure to collect debts from the company, have given the company an unfair advantage in breach of EU State aid rules. CFR Marfa is the incumbent rail operator and fully state owned. It has been struggling to pay taxes and social security and fees for the use of the rail infrastructure.
Unlike passenger rail transport, the freight rail transport market in Romania is highly competitive, with numerous private operators, some having gained considerable market share following liberalisation of the market in 2007. In March 2017, the Association of Romanian Private Rail Freight Operators filed a formal complaint with the Commission alleging that CFR Marfa had received State aid in breach of EU rules.
CFR Marfa is particularly active in the transport of coal, cement, chemical products, grains, oil, wood, salt and metals.