The Metrans train operator’s new container train route from China to Slovakia through Ukraine is considered more competitive than the existing rotes via Belarus and Poland, the CCTS portal reports, citing the Railfreight publication.

Metrans has launched a new regular rail freight service from the Chinese city of Xi'an via Dobra to Dunajska Streda, near Bratislava in eastern Slovakia. The first train arrived at the Slovak terminal on Wednesday, October 3, from where its cargo was immediately forwarded to the destination terminals in Prague, Ceska Trebova, Budapest, and Krems.

The total travel time from Xi'an to Dobra (Slovakia) was 14 days. The train carried 44 40-foot containers. The operator of the train, Beijing Trans Eurasia International Logistics (BTE), provided traction to the Slovakian terminal and DBO Bahnoperator provided traction for the final leg. The train service is operated once per week in one direction. Empty containers will be transported to Budapest, from where they will be shipped to Xiamen in China.

In most cases, the final rail terminals are located at distances no longer than 150 kilometers from Dunajska Streda.

The Xi’an-Dunajska Streda train is a successful example of a route on the New Silk Road that runs through Ukraine, a much more strategic transit route for end destinations in Eastern Europe than via Belarus and Poland.

“The transport through Ukraine was more than competitive, as transit time was some 32 hours… We see big potential in this route. Customs procedures may be something that requires development, but as far as I have heard, Ukraine is willing to join the European customs NCTS system in the near future. From this perspective, it may become even easier to transport trains via Ukraine,” said Martin Koubek, Silk Road business development director at Metrans.

As the CFTS reported, Belarusian Railways has modernized a container terminal on the Belarusian border with Poland. The average daily processing capacity at the Brest railway junction has increased 1.5-fold and the ​​container storage area has doubled.