A study conducted at the request of ANTT points out that the increase in the cost of fuel costs operators additional expenses that can reach almost R $ 500 million per year
BRASÍLIA – With the impact of the diesel increase on railway operation, railway concessionaires are asking for a permanent trigger to protect contracts from sudden fuel fluctuations and, in parallel, extraordinary readjustments of tariff ceilings ranging from 2.5% to 19%, depending on the concession. The activation proposal has already been submitted to the National Land Transport Agency (ANTT) and the tariff review option is expected to be presented by the end of this week.
The cause is led by National Association of Railway Carriers (ANTF), who invited professor and researcher Armando Castelar Pinheiro to prepare proposals and calculations for the entity. Castelar’s studies point out that the increase in fuel prices, apart from the tariffs that readjust concession contracts, entails additional expenses for operators, per year, which can reach almost R $ 500 million. The increase in diesel and the increase in the weight of this item in railway operations have been on the radar of companies for months, which have begun to articulate to use the ANTT.
“We have already presented to ANTT the creation of a trigger, as happens in the road sector, and we continue to dialogue with the agency”, he told the Estadão / Transmission the president of the ANTF, Fernando Paes. He explained that the readjustment requests that will be submitted to the ANTT appear as an “immediate and timely” alternative to the trigger rule, which, being a structural change in the regulation of the sector, could require more discussions and time by the agency. regulatory.
To calculate the tariff revision proposals, Castelar used a formula that reflects the importance that diesel has in the operations of each dealership, and the change in the price of fuel from the date of the last adjustment granted to the operator – which would take advantage of the extension. the current delay. Since there are usually several tariff caps within a concession, the option was to make an average that represented how much each operator could readjust their values. The expectation is that the regulatory agency will be able to decide on this by July.
In the railway sector, the annual readjustments of the tariff ceilings are carried out by the HICP and IGP-DI indices. Castelar, who is a professor at FGV Law and the Institute of Economics of the UFRJ, argues, however, that these ratios do not reflect the industry’s real cost inflation, as diesel is only one of its components. The item, on the other hand, represents approximately 30% and 35% of the costs of a railway carrier.
The industry therefore argues that a mechanism is needed that can automatically repair when there is a large gap between the indices used in the contract and the price of diesel. Therefore, the first request made by the ANTF was to establish a permanent trigger that responds to exceptional situations, such as the one faced today due to the effects of the war in Ukraine.
According to the proposed mechanism, whenever there is a fluctuation in the price of diesel in the internal market of more than 5% compared to the price considered in the calculation of the current tariff ceiling, up or down, a new value for the maximum tariff must be published by the ‘ANT
The idea of a trigger to be activated to correct the tariff ceiling for rail freight in the event of an atypical change in the price of diesel is not new, says the FGV professor. He pointed out that ANTT already adopts a procedure like this in the case of the freight plan in road freight transport. The difference is that, in the case of the road sector, the command came by law, in response to the 2018 truckers’ strike.
“A lesson from the current crisis is that the current procedures for readjusting and revising tariff ceilings, which work well in normal times, prove to be inadequate and insufficient to cope with crises,” says Castelar.