The press service of the Ukrzaliznytsia public joint-stock company has informed the CFTS portal that the Illichivsk-China container train bypassing Russia arrived at the Chinese border in the early hours of 31 January.
The press service also denies rumors in the Russian media that the train “got lost" in the Kazakh steppes. Citing the TASS news agency, the Russian publication Lenta.ru reported on 1 February that the whereabouts of the train on the territory of Kazakhstan were unknown.
As reported, the pilot container train departed from Illichivsk (Odesa region) on the route Ukraine-Georgia-Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan-China (via the Caspian and the Black Sea) on 15 January.
This route is a new branch of the Silk Road and an alternative that will allow redirection of cargo flows in an easterly direction, bypassing Russian territory. The new transit route includes ferry services on the Black and Caspian Seas (Illichivsk-Batumi and Alat-Aktau Port) and, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure, it should become competitive compared with the traditional overland route.