The “Green Switch” puts semi-trailers on Latvian tracks

The Latvian railway market is about to welcome the transport of semi-trailers. Until now, the country’s intermodal and combined transport sector did not include this concept. However, Latvian Railways (Latvijas Dzelzceļš) and Stena Line want to change that. The “Green Switch” project aims to start regular transportation of semi-trailers in the country’s railway network.

Latvian Railways will undertake the transportation of semi-trailers through the country and to the Baltic ports of Liepāja and Ventspils. From there, Stena Line will be responsible for their transportation to German or Scandinavian ports by ferries. When reaching their destinations, semi-trailers will get back on trains to continue their trip.

LDZ Loģistika Ltd. and LDZ CARGO Ltd are responsible for running the project from the Latvian Railways’ side. The “Green Switch” will offer an end-to-end solution since LDZ will also handle the loading and unloading of the semi-trailers to and from the ferries. The companies already ran a pilot project with Stena Line back in July 2020; consequently, the service is ready to begin anytime.

A relief for Latvia’s road congestion

Latvian roads carry about 60 million tons of freight yearly. A worrying fact is that road transported freight volumes through the country have increased by 25 per cent during the last five years. While in Europe, everyone discusses the modal shift and how to convert more freight from road to rail, the Latvian reality seems different.

“I am pleased that by commencing regular transportation of semi-trailer trucks by rail, we will provide some kind of green transition. Freight transportation in Latvia will become more environmentally friendly, road traffic volumes will reduce significantly, and cargo owners will be able to capitalise on various opportunities”, commented Māris Kleinbergs, Chairman of the Board at Latvijas Dzelzceļš.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Editor at RailFreight.com

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