Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelian expects the project for rail transportation of containers to China via the Trans-Caspian route to be finalized in May.
"This issue was handled by people without sufficient experience. We expect Ukrzaliznytsia to finalize the route of this project in May," Omelian said in an interview with the RBK Ukraine publication.
As reported, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Ukrzaliznytsia launched the trial run of a container train on the route Ukraine-Georgia-Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan-China, which is considered a branch of the New Silk Road, on 15 January 2016. The train reached China on the sixteenth day (in the early hours of 31 January 2016).
In the future, the one-way travel time is expected to be reduced to 10-12 days and the price to become comparable to prices on the China-Europe routes passing through Russia.
The Ukrainian government also expected involvement of Turkmenistan in the project and expansion of the project to delivery of fuel, particularly liquefied natural gas and petroleum products. Meanwhile, the first train has not yet departed on the return trip.
Ukrzaliznytsia has decided to convene a meeting of the participants in the Trans-Caspian railway corridor in Odesa on 15 April to determine a single through tariff. In addition, Poland has proposed creating a single operator of the route, which will be responsible for transportation and security.