A pilot container train departed on a trip on the Trans-Caspian corridor (Ukraine-China) – through Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan – on 15 January, the CFTS portal’s correspondent reports.

The train is carrying 20 containers. They will be delivered to the Georgian port by the Heroes of Sevastopol ferry.

Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure Andrii Pyvovarskyi said that the tariffs for transportation on this route were attractive. "We will definitely be able to compete with Russian routes," Pyvovarskyi said without disclosing the the size of the tariff.

According to the CFTS portal, the cost of transporting a container to China via Russia is about USD 6,000 while the cost of transporting it through the Trans-Caspian corridor is about 30% more.

However, it was reported on 14 January that Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Ukraine had signed a protocol on the establishment of competitive preferential tariffs for cargo transportation on the Trans-Caspian international transport route. According to the Azerbaijani Railways company’s head Javid Gurbanov, a common tariff policy for cargo transportation on the Trans-Caspian international transport route will be agreed between the four countries by mid-February.

In comments to the CFTS portal, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelian said that the situation involving tariffs would become clear before the end of January. "Currently, this is a test train…" said Omelian.

According to Pyvovarskyi, the train will go to China without inspections and on a single tariff. 

"The preferential tariff applies to all goods, including those generated by Ukraine. We expect to be able to send up to eight trains per month. It will be good if we send 1 million tons per year," Pyvovarskyi said.

The train is carrying 20 containers (some with metal blanks, some empty). "The blanks will be unloaded in Georgia and some of the empty wagons will go to China for loading and return. The travel time is 11.5 days, but there are real prospects of accelerating it to nine days," said the minister.

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