Ukraine and Lithuania have agreed to develop a single railway route between the Black Sea and Baltic regions
The Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov and the Minister of Transport and Communications of Lithuania Marius Skuodis met in Klaipeda, Lithuania. Ministers discussed the issue of enhancing cooperation and prospects for new projects.
"Lithuania is one of the most important strategic partners of Ukraine, particularly in the context of our Euro-Atlantic aspirations. We highly appreciate this cooperation and are ready to enhance it further. New opportunities for cooperation were discussed at the meeting of the Presidents of Ukraine and Lithuania.
Partnership in the field of transport is one of the priorities. We are resuming dialogue on the implementation of an old idea – the connection of the Baltic and Black Sea regions by rail. This is a chance for both countries to optimize logistics, increase the load on seaports and ensure access on new world markets.
We have already agreed with the Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications to launch a pilot project to develop multimodal transport between the countries via increasing the flow of semi-trailers. Also at the time of restoration of the passenger route "4 capitals", from Kyiv to Riga", – Oleksandr Kubrakov said.
Currently, there are large freight flows between the Baltic and Black Sea regions, but the share of goods moving from Ukraine is very low. In the port of Klaipeda, Ukrainian cargo accounts only 1-2% of all cargo. According to the Lithuanian side, the flow of goods from Ukraine could potentially be ten times higher.
For the implementation of multimodal freight transport by sea and rail will be used, in particular, and automobile semi-trailers as intermodal transport units. To make this possible, the Ministry is initiating changes to the Ukrainian legislation that will allow semi-trailers to be classified as cargo and not as a vehicle.
The pilot project is planned to be launched in September this year. Successful implementation of the agreement has the potential to make Klaipeda port in Lithuania the northern gate of Ukraine to Scandinavian countries, while Odesa will be the southern sea gate of Lithuania to the Black Sea region.