Lithuanian container train, source: Lietuvos geležinkeliai

New container train between Baltic and Black Sea

The railway companies of Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania together with Intermodal Container Service Company have agreed to launch a new container train between the seaports of Odesa and Klaipeda. The service branded as the Containerships Train will run twice a week. To start the service, the participants should set a joint rate for container transportation.

The agreement was signed on 28 May in Odesa by stakeholders Ukrainian Railway, Belarusian Railway, Lithuanian Railways, LG Cargo (a freight division of Lithuanian Railways) and Intermodal Container Service Company, a Lithuanian logistics provider. According to Yevhen Kravtsov, CEO of Ukrainian Railways, the new service has four main advantages: minimal travel time, lower cost for container transportation, transparent and intelligible rates and reliable delivery.

First phase

Initially, the container train will run on the shorter route between Klaipeda (Lithuania) and Brovary, a city located close to Kyiv (Ukraine). The travel time between the termini is a day and a half. CEO of LG Cargo Egidijus Lazauskas noted that the Containerships Train will carry plastic, metal and other kinds of goods produced in the Brovary industrial area. The expected annual cargo traffic between Brovary and Klaipeda is estimated at more than 10,000 TEUs. Last year, the container volume transported from Lithuania to Kyiv and back was only 5,000 TEUs.

Currently, container traffic between the ports of the Baltic and Black Sea is transported by two freight trains – Viking and ZUBR. The Viking connects the Ukrainian seaports of Chornomorsk (former Illichivsk) and Odesa with Klaipeda via Belarus. At the beginning of the 2010s, the service was extended to Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria. The travel time from Chornomorsk to Klaipeda is 59 hours.

The ZUBR train runs from Ukraine and Moldova to Latvia and Estonia via Belarus. It links the Black Sea ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa, Pivdennyi with the Baltic Sea harbours of Riga and Muuga. The journey time from Chornomorsk to Muuga is 89 hours.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

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

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