The first trip of the new container train on the Silk Road route took 15.5 days instead of the announced 11-12 days. According to the press service of the Ministry of Infrastructure, the train was delayed on the Black Sea because of a storm and in Kazakhstan, where the train idled at the Zhanaarka station because of uncoordinated actions on payments to the Kazakh side.
The train arrived at its final destination at the Dostyk station in Kazakhstan on the border with China in the early hours of 31 January.
"Changes to the schedule during a test run are a normal phenomenon. Its purpose is joint determination of the route by the operators of the train in each of the participating countries. The test run helped identify possible ‘bottlenecks’ and understand how to avoid them in the future. It will form the basis for improvement of the transport logistics after the launch of regular operation of the train on the new Silk Road," the press release states.
The train is currently at the Dostyk station. The next step is for the train to be loaded with goods for transportation in the opposite direction.
The train departed from Illichivsk on 15 January 15. It consists of 10 railcars and 20 forty-foot equivalent units (FEU) of containers. Its route passes through the port of Batumi, Alat, Aktau Port, Beyneu, Zhezkazgan, and Balkhash-1. This is an alternative route for delivery of cargoes from the West to the East – through Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan to China – bypassing the territory of Russia.