Latvia and Estonia officially part of North Sea-Baltic corridor

Latvia and Estonia have officially joined the North Sea-Baltic corridor on Monday 12 October 2020. With that, the connection to Riga and Tallinn has become part of the European rail freight corridor network. This extension has long been anticipated, especially considering the upcoming RailBaltica, the railway line that connects the Baltic countries to Poland.

The governance structure of the corridor now includes representatives of the ministry of transport from both countries in the Executive Board, as well as the respective infrastructure managers and the Latvian Allocation Body (AS “LatRailNet”) in the Management Board of the Corridor.

Routes

The North Sea-Baltic corridor (RFC NS-B) routing has been extended from Kaunas (Lithuania) to Riga (Latvia) and Tallinn (Estonia) as a main route and from Kaunas to Vilnius (Lithuania), Daugavpils and Krustpils to Riga (Latvia) as a diversionary line. All these lines have a track gauge of 1520mm. This interface between standard and broad gauge, together with the strategic location of Latvia and Estonia will contribute to a better connectivity of the European Union with the East and Asia, as well as open multimodal transportation opportunities from the Baltic Sea ports to the North Sea ports.

The corridor announced to be grateful for the financial support received from the European Commission, which made these developments possible. “The RFC NS-B belongs to the corridors with the greatest potential for growth by providing high capacity transport services. From now on, capacity can also be requested on these lines via the corridor One-Stop-Shop, the single contact point for all Corridor requests.

8000km of rail

RFC NS-B was established on 10 November 2015 according to the Regulation (EU) 913/2010 concerning a European rail network for competitive freight. It includes more than 8000 km of railway lines and connects the most important North Sea ports with Central Europe and the Baltic States providing a rail bridge between Eastern and Western Europe.

With the extension, the corridor now runs through eight EU Member States: starting in the North Sea ports of Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Wilhelmshaven, Bremerhaven and Hamburg spreading in central Germany through Aachen, Hannover, Magdeburg and Berlin to Warsaw and the Polish-Belarus border in Terespol. A branch leads from Magdeburg to Prague via Falkenberg and Dresden. In Falkenberg starts the Southern branch in Poland to Wrocław and Katowice. Another branch goes from Warsaw to Kaunas, then to Riga and Tallinn.

North-Sea Baltic extension

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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