Direct container train between China and Ukraine

Ukraine has got the first direct rail freight service to China. It ran via Mongolia and Russia in spite of the Middle Corridor. This service was arranged by EU-Trans, a Kyiv-based freight forwarding provider. The company is planning two other shipments until the end of June.

On Monday, 8 June, the container train from Yantai arrived at Kyiv-Liski station, an intermodal hub of Ukrainian Railway (UZ) in the capital city. It consisted of 41 40-foot containers loaded with a multifarious range of goods: from clothes and footwear to medical and technological equipment. The route of the new Yantai – Kyiv service ran via Mongolia and Russia.

As for the delivery time, it was around 15 days. “It was the first pilot shipment. We have successfully tested the opportunities of this route. Currently, we are working with our partners on reducing the delivery time and arranging new shipments to Ukraine from other Chinese cities”, CEO of EU-Trans Ievgen Balashov said to RailFreight.

Planned connections

The exact dates and starting points of the planned services are still under discussion. “We have scheduled two more trains for June. I can only say that one train will depart from China in the mid-June, another one at the end of the month”, Balashov added. His company is regarding Wuhan and Nanchang as the possible departure points in China. In addition, the termini in Ukraine are also undefined. “It will most likely be Kyiv. However, we would like to test other locations such as Kharkiv, Odesa or Dnipro,” Ievgen Balashov specified.

Middle Corridor

It is worth noting that direct container services from Ukraine to China were tested in January 2016. The route ran via the Middle Corridor, i.e. through the Caucasian Region and Kazakhstan. To deliver the containers in such a way, the logistics companies need to use two ferry links: one across the Black Sea, another across the Caspian Sea. Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have succeeded to arrange stable ferry services across the Caspian Sea.

Meanwhile, the Black Sea leg is still the Achilles heel of the route. Therefore, it is not popular among logistics providers. At the same time, the customers from Poland, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are still interested in the mentioned route via Ukraine.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

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

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