The State Railway Administration (Ukrzaliznytsia) is planning to transport cargo from China to Europe on Viking trains. The relevant protocol was signed during a meeting of the heads of the railways of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Ukraine on the issue of creation of competitive tariff conditions for cargo transportation on the Asia-Europe-Asia route, which took place in Odessa on 11 September, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reports, citing the press service of Ukrzaliznytsia.
"The current state of Ukrainian railways is strong enough and allows safe transportation of cargo and passengers. In the current process of reforming the Ukrainian railway industry, we are moving to the European management model, which will allow us to formulate tariffs more qualitatively and organize the transportation process. All this will facilitate development of Ukraine’s transit potential," Ukrzaliznytsia’s acting General Director Oleksandr Zavhorodnyi is quoted as saying.
According to him, Ukraine can facilitate development of transport corridors and reduce the period of delivery of cargoes to any destination.
In addition, the railways are considering technical issues involving modernization of rolling stock for container transportation and - together with the Ministry of Infrastructure - changes to the operating procedures of the ferry service. According Zavhorodnyi, these issues will be resolved within the next two months.
The Viking rail project was launched in 2003. The participants in the project are Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, and, from 2012, Bulgaria. The total length of the Ilyichevsk (Ukraine)-Minsk (Belarus)-Draugyste (Lithuania) route is 1,766 kilometers. The volume of container transportation by Viking trains was 3,920 units in the first eight months of 2015, which exceeds the volume in the corresponding period of 2014 by 52%.