The Ukrainian Railways public joint-stock company (Ukrzaliznytsia) began test operation of a container train between the Odesa port and Dnipro-Liski at 13:00 on July 31. The train will cover the distance of 628 kilometers in 18 hours, the Odesa port authority announced.

"This is much faster and more efficient than conventional deliveries by rail and road because transportation of goods on direct container trains guarantees the absence of shunting operations along the route and observance of the schedule regardless of weather conditions," a representative of the Odesa port authority said.

The decision to organize the latest delivery of goods in containers through the territory of Ukraine was made at a meeting chaired by Ukrzaliznytsia’s Operations Director Viacheslav Yeremin in Odesa on July 20. The meeting was attended by representatives of Ukrzaliznytsia, the Odesa port authority, forwarding companies, and container terminal operators (HHLA Container Terminal Odesa and LLC Brooklyn-Kiev Port).

According to the Odesa port authority’s head Ihor Tkachuk, the Odesa port’s terminals handled 519,000 TEU or 72% of the total volume of the sea container traffic in Ukraine in 2017. He expressed the hope that the new train will become regular.

"I hope that the train from Odesa to Dnipro will find its client and allow our railroad partners to move forward and organize regular intermodal transport from the Odesa port to Kyiv and Kharkiv," Tkachuk said.

He also cited data showing that the Odesa-Rozhniativ (Ivano-Frankivsk region) container train performed 15 trips from the port to western Ukraine and 14 in the opposite direction in less than two months.

According to the Odesa Port station’s head Vitalii Kyrylchuk, the Liski Transport Service Center, which is a subsidiary of Ukrzaliznytsia, provided 40 container flatcars for creation of the experimental train. The first train was made up of empty containers, which freight forwarders can fill quickly without leaving their offices. As of the time of departure of the train, 25% of the container flatcars had been filled.

"A specially created working group should develop the ‘Technology for Running a Regular Container Train’ based on the results of the first trip. Approximately, the train will depart from the Odesa Port station at 13:00 on Tuesdays and complete the roundtrip on schedule at 19:37 on Mondays. Currently, we estimate the seasonal volume of freight transportation to Dnipro on these trips at up to 60 platforms per week," the head of the Odesa Port station said.