Lodz Railway Station. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Rail Cargo Group connects Łódź and Istanbul on New Silk Road

Rail Cargo Group (RCG) has launched a new freight train running between two intermodal hubs – Łódź and Istanbul. The new service improves the transportation of goods throughout eastern, southern and southeastern Europe and connects two branches of the New Silk Road – the Trans Siberian route via Russia and the Middle Corridor via Turkey.

The route of the new 18-wagon container train runs from Poland to Turkey via Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria. The first train departed from Łódź on 2 October. It is expected to carry consumer goods, white goods, automotive and chemicals in 36 containers with one round trip per week.

Rail Cargo Group, an Austrian freight railway company aims to intensify the intermodal connections in eastern and southeastern Europe. With the new service they have created the opportunity to transport goods between seven countries. “We are creating ideal logistics solutions for continental transport units,” reported RCG.

Different hubs

The Polish city of Łódź, 120 km south-west of Warsaw, has been important intermodal hub for both Poland and central eastern Europe since 2013, when the first container train from China’s Chengdu was launched. Two years later, in 2015, a new freight connection to China – to the city of Xiamen was opened. Due to these railway connections, bilateral trade volumes between China and Poland grew increased by thirty per cent. Both train connections are operated by Hatrans Logistics, a Polish freight forwarding and logistic company. The trains depart from Container Terminal Łódź, owned by Spedcont freight forwarding company (part of PEKAES Group). This facility is well-linked with the Gdynia Container Terminal in the Baltic seaport of the same name.

Meanwhile, Istanbul is an important hub for southern and southeastern Europe. Currently, Turkey is focussing on the Middle Corridor, or Trans-Caspian International Transport Route that links the country with China via Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. In 2015, a container train between Lianyungang (Kazakh-owned seaport in Eastern China) and Istanbul was launched, which takes fourteen days to deliver cargo between these points. Last year, this service was renewed due to opening of the Baku – Tbilisi – Kars railway. Due to such developments RCG believes that “Istanbul forms the decisive freight traffic hub and connection to the Silk Road”.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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