MINSK, 4 May (BelTA) – Speaker of the Council of the Republic Mikhail Myasnikovich voiced plans to increase rail freight traffic from China to Europe through Belarus almost twofold by 2020 as he met with Chinese journalists on 4 May, BelTA has learned. “China-Europe rail freight traffic through Belarus and the EAEU countries has been going up. Today it poses a real challenge to maritime transport.
In 2017, over 2,700 container trains travelled from China to Europe via Belarus. We plan to increase this number to 5,000 a year by 2020,” Mikhail Myasnikovich remarked. Today one of the key tasks is to ensure that the trains operate at the maximum capacity in both directions.
“Belarus is ready to give a hand. We have competitive goods, mechanical engineering and agricultural products that can be in demand in China. We are ready to supply high-quality products, not only foods,” the speaker added. In the past seven year, $2.5 billion was invested in Belarus’ rail infrastructure to introduce new rail transportation technologies and develop the Silk Road routes.
Eight trains with 80 to 100 cars cross the Belarusian territory every day on the Europe-China rail freight route.
A new express rail freight service which promises delivery times of 28 hours between the Latvian capital Riga and the Belarussian capital Minsk completed a second test journey this week following an inaugural trip between Minsk and Riga in January.
The train consisted of 21 40-foot containers containing textile machinery, 13 grain wagons, and three wagons containing metal products.
The containers were from India and provided by German logistics company, RTSB, and Belarusian operator, Belintertrans. Latvian Railways (LDZ) says this collaboration is evidence of efforts to attract new partners from south Asia, which opens up opportunities to develop new freight solutions and the Latvian transport and logistics sector.
“The creation of a new product – an express freight train between the capitals of Latvia and Belarus – ensures that the owners of freight who would like to use the connection will be able to count on a definite and clear timetable of freight transport in the future,” says LDZ president Mr Edvīns Bērziņš. “The long-term goal is to ensure the regular flow of freight on this route, whose future potential will increase with the development of the Chinese-Belarusian industrial park, The Great Stone.”
Rail freight volumes on the Indra-Bigosava route between Latvia and Belarus totalled 7.6 million tonnes in 2017, an increase year-on-year of 13.9%.