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Estonia Raises Waterway Tolls Less Than Planned, Delays Increase

Estonia’s Parliament approved a lower increase in waterway tolls than initially planned and postponed the raise by six months after criticism from business leaders it would harm competitiveness and investment climate.

The lawmakers voted 50-32, with one abstaining, late yesterday in Tallinn to back the changes that combine present fees into a single toll for using Estonia’s waterway network and raise the fee to cover investment costs. Still, they reduced by as much as half, depending of vessel types, the initial plan to raise tolls by up to six times, and postponed the increase to next July from January.

Fyodor Berman, the main owner of the largest Baltic shipbuilder BLRT Grupp AS, and Arnout Lugtmeijer, chief executive officer of terminal operator Vopak E.O.S., among other business leaders, in October criticized the draft plans, citing “extreme instability in the business environment” and an “atmosphere of unpredictability.”

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