Lithuanian and Turkish railways are very close to signing a cooperation agreement on road semi-trailer transportation between the two countries. The aim is to use existing services and connect Istanbul to the Ukrainian coast as well as Klaipeda and the Scandinavian port.
A few days ago, representatives of the Lithuanian railway visited Turkey and met with the Turkish railway team. The sides discussed the possibility of establishing a new short sea and rail link, which will serve as a corridor between the Black Sea and the Baltic.
Representatives also examined the Istanbul Haydarpaşa port, which can be a gateway from Turkey to Ukraine.
There are preconditions for the creation of an intermodal transport connecting Turkey to Lithuania via Ukraine. There are currently two rail freight connections between Lithuania and Ukraine.
One of them is the “Baltic-Ukraine” container train, which runs once a week between the port of Klaipeda, located in the south of Lithuania and the Baltic Sea, and the port of Odessa in Ukraine, via Kiev. Another option is the Viking Train, a combined transport train that started operating in 2010.
It will also make intermediate stops at key destinations in Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine by connecting the ports of Klaipeda and Odessa. Among them are Vilnius, Minsk and Kiev.
While Lithuanian Railways plans to further develop existing resources, it is considering using and further expanding the existing Viking Train link.
Laurynas Buchalis, head of the international relations department of Lithuanian Railways, explained that the partners want to expand the service to the port of Chornomorsk, near Odessa, which will become a checkpoint for Turkish goods to Ukraine.
The service will be operated entirely on the railway lines between Chernomorsk and Klaipeda. Buchalis noted that plans on both sides include frequent and stable connections twice a week. The planned capacity of each train is 43 semi-trailers. In total, it is estimated that around 4.500 semi-trailers will be transported annually along this route.
The main traffic flows will not only be concentrated in Lithuania, in fact the port of Klaipeda will also be a junction for cargo to other destinations. Buchalis emphasized that the aim is to create a Sweden-Turkey intermodal corridor with the Chornomorsk-Klaipeda railway connection.
According to him, short sea connections with Scandinavia and Northern Europe will be organized from Klaipeda. In particular, the ferry service will allow the transport of goods to Trelleborg and Karlshamn (Sweden), Fredericia (Denmark) and Kiel (Germany).