The participants in the Viking container train project plan to launch pilot trains on a new route from Lithuania through Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania to Turkey and in the opposite direction in the third quarter of this year, the press service of the Belarusian Railways has announced.

Representatives of the railway administrations of Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania recently met in Sofia (Bulgaria) to discuss the development of the Viking container train project. A plan for development of the Viking project in the period of 2014-2015 was approved, a new overland route to Turkey was agreed, and changes to the train movement technology were made at the meeting.

As reported earlier, Romania (represented by CFR Marfa SA, which provides railway freight services) has joined the project.

The Viking project was launched in 2003. The total length of the route Ilyichevsk (Ukraine)-Minsk (Belarus)-Draugyste (Lithuania) is 1,766 kilometers. The train connects ports in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea. With the aim of increasing the volume of traffic, Ukraine’s State Railway Administration (Ukrzaliznytsia) sends Viking trains to Belarus and Lithuania based on a clear timetable and on specific days of the week, regardless of the number of cars in a train.

Bulgaria joined the project in December 2012 and Moldova in 2013. The intermodal transport route passes through Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania and connects a network of marine container lines in the Baltic region with a similar system in the Black, Caspian, and Mediterranean seas.