State's public service contract with CP is 'stuck' in Finance – Jornal Económico

Minister Pedro Nuno Santos admitted yesterday, 9 September evening, in an interview with the program "Everything is Economy of RTP3", that the talks to realize the first public service contract are part of a "difficult negotiation".

“CP never had a public service contract, it will. Just last week, 40 million euros of compensatory damages were approved for CP. From this point of view, the situation is controlled, but obviously what a public service contract will give is what CP is entitled to: predictability, financial conditions, so that it can do the work and service that the state demands the CP ”, defended the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing.

And the ruler even said that, “we [Governo, Estado], with any private company [concessionária], when we make a contract, if the operation is loss-making, the state pays, ”recognizing that“ we don't do it well with CP ”.

“And CP has the right, and whatever the administration, has the right to be able to run the company. So there are a set of lines, almost all of which are in deficit – apart from the northern and Cascais lines, the rest is in deficit. The country understands that this transport must be done and, therefore, it has to create, it has to sign a public service contract ”, highlighted Pedro Nuno Santos.

Asked what obstacles were preventing the closing of these negotiations for the conclusion of the public service contract with CP, the Minister of Infrastructure revealed that "some things still need to be closed with Finance".

“I hope that soon [o processo esteja concluído], but I do not want to give deadlines that are not entirely up to me, and so we are working to make CP a great company, respected and respectful of the Portuguese and its users. That's what we are working for, ”he assumed.

According to Pedro Nuno Santos, “the railroad, contrary to what was believed in Portugal, is the means of transport of the future”.

“If we replaced all petrol and diesel powered cars in Lisbon with electric or autonomous cars, we could solve or help solve an environmental problem, but we would not solve the congestion problem in the city of Lisbon. The cars are the same, whether electric or autonomous. We need fewer cars to reach cities and urban centers. This is done by investing in the railroad, by investing in CP ”, assured the minister.

Regarding the resignation of the previous administration of the national railway carrier, Pedro Nuno Santos said that (former) CP President Carlos Nogueira "has done a very important job at CP".

“However, it was decided that we had to implement a new strategy and the option was to renew virtually the entire team [de gestão da CP]. But there was no anger or discontent or disillusionment with the work of Carlos Nogueira, who is someone I respect a lot and who has been showing his management skills throughout his life. Now we are in a new phase, with a new team and very committed to ensuring that the railroad, which has been in sharp disinvestment for too many years in a row, can once again take center stage, ”said the Minister of Infrastructure.

Pedro Nuno Santos said that “if we want to make the energy transition, rely less on fossil fuels, contribute to reducing our imports and have a better quality of life, we have to invest in the train”.

“Train, as I said, with an honest company, with a company that guarantees comfort, that guarantees punctuality, that does not promise schedules that it cannot meet. And from here, let's see if we can meet demand. We have trains with 50, with 60 years running. This is an investment that the country has to realize it has to make if we want to move forward, ”warned the official.

As a balance sheet in this portfolio – Pedro Nuno Santos took over his duties in this line from February – stressed that “we started on the railroad, with the approval of a strategic plan and an investment plan, a good strategy that will allow us to recover dozens, dozens of trains that are leaning across the country to inject them into our rail network. ”

About what he liked to do but has not yet succeeded, the governor confided: “As Minister of Public Works, what is my dream? To make CP a great national company again and that the railroad is gaining space and that will become the main means of transportation in the future ”.

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