Poland-Ukraine set up ‘Black Sea to Baltic’ intermodal corridor
The Port of Gdansk and the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority have agreed to collaborate on a new transport corridor connecting the Black Sea and the Baltic. The focus will lie mainly on the transportation of cargo by rail, in a route that will include the port of Gdansk, Warsaw, Doronhursk or Medyka and will end up in Ukrainian ports of the Black Sea, primarily Odesa.
Contacts between the two parties have been taking place since last October when the Polish President Andrzej Duda visited Ukraine, and they have now signed a letter of intent. Lukasz Greinke, President of Port of Gdansk, commented that plans for the establishment of the corridor are already underway. A working group formed specifically for the occasion is currently working intensively on the promotion and realisation of the project.
Greinke also mentioned that the developing project will serve two specific objectives: Firstly, the ‘Black Sea to Baltic’ intermodal corridor will provide an alternative route to westward transportation originating from China. Cargo travelling on trains from, e.g. Xi’an, through transit countries like Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and then Georgia, can be transported in Ukraine using the Black Sea, and respectively get distributed in Europe via the new route.
Moreover, on a smaller scale, Ukrainian and Turkish companies interested in transporting cargo in Central and Western Europe, or Scandinavia, will now have an extra and quicker option when using the Gdansk-Odesa corridor. People in charge of the project are already in negotiations with Turkish ship owners and freight forwarders to explore the possibilities and benefits of a future collaboration.
Estimations show that demand over the new route is not going to be insignificant. Specifically, due to the project, the port of Gdansk could see a growth of its transported volumes during 2021, which might reach the amount of 50 million tones.
Gdansk is currently one of Europe’s fastest-growing ports. Due to its ability to handle all cargo types, the port remained among the highest-ranked for 2020. It also includes the DCT Gdansk terminal, the largest container terminal in Poland, significant for Eurasian traffic and connected with multiple European countries. The latest development will arguably boost its status and central role even more.
Ukraine, on the other hand, is still claiming its role in European transportation, while it attempts to become a transit country for China-EU trade. Following some developments in the first months of 2020, the ‘Black Sea to Baltic’ corridor could certainly serve the country’s intentions and transform it into an important crossroad.
The two parties will also collaborate closely in coordinating the new route’s logistics chains. “We are not only talking about terminals located within the administrative boundaries of Ukrainian ports or the Port of Gdansk, but also land terminals located in the immediate hinterland of the ports and along the route of the Black Sea-Port Gdansk transport corridor,” added Greinke.
Poland is also part of the Three Seas Initiative and of the Trans-Caspian corridor. The new agreement with Ukraine seems to not interrupt the Country’s role in the two coalitions. In contrast, as the Polish Minister for Infrastructure, Andrzej Adamczyk, commented “the cooperation between the Port of Gdansk and the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority will become the foundation for a common intermodal corridor which fits perfectly with the concept of the Three Seas Initiative and the Trans-Caspian Corridor”.