An important event. For the first time, Ukraine has proven that it is capable of transporting goods by rail to Central Asia and China, bypassing Russia. Of course, from the business viewpoint, many questions remain over tariffs (USD 5,500 per 40-foot container) and the travel time. There is still work to be done. However, the task of the state and Ukrzaliznytsia as a state monopoly is primarily to respond to geopolitical challenges adequately. The blocking of the transportation of Ukrainian transit goods by Russia, which has no economic or tariff justification, is such a challenge. The challenge has been accepted and Russia can continue blocking them. However, will it?
Even if the train is unable to compete with those on alternative routes in the future and even if it is not operated regularly, its very existence becomes an important argument in favor of Ukraine if it becomes necessary to respond to unconstructive actions by Russia. It is time for Ukraine’s eastern neighbor to get used to the idea that it no longer has a monopoly on transportation of Ukrainian (and, in the future, Baltic and Polish) transit goods by rail to Central Asian countries and China. The absence of a monopoly and the existence of competition is always a positive for both shippers and equal intergovernmental relations.