By Kamila Aliyeva
Azerbaijan’s participation in the Viking train project allows creation of effective corridor between European and Asian countries, as well as new links to China, the Lithuanian Ministry of Transport and Communications told Azernews.
“Moreover, Lithuania proposes Azerbaijan to consider the possibility of the partnership in the Europe-China cargo transportation chain through the Eurasian transport multimodal corridor of TRACECA (the Dostyk-Aktau-Baku (Alyat) port-Georgian ports, further on by sea to the ports of Turkey or Ukraine, or via land through Georgia and Turkey) in the direction of the Republic of Lithuania by the Viking Train, and then through Klaipeda Port to the Western and Northern Europe,” the message said.
By joining Viking train project, Azerbaijan could benefit from the increase in rail freight volumes and additional incomes from such activity, according to the ministry.
The Lithuanian ministry also noted that cooperation between the stakeholders means the creation of a platform for discussions between the ministries of transport, railways, customs and border authorities (in Republic of Belarus, Lithuania, Republic of Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Syria, Bulgaria, Greece) to facilitate customs and border controls for goods crossing VIKING Member States.
Another important goal is to attract goods to rail in Europe-Caucasus-Asia directions (TRACECA Corridor) and freight from Turkey and Middle East to North Europe and return, according to the ministry.
In 2017, the volume of cargo transportation along Viking route amounted to 46,451 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit) while in 2016 this figure stood at the level of 34,004 TEU, according to the message.
VIKING train is a joint project of Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Belarusian Railways, stevedore companies and ports of Klaipeda, Illichiovsk and Odessa. The route crosses Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania and links the network of sea container and contrailer lines of the Baltic and the Black seas, the Mediterranean and the Caspian seas. The regular runs were launched on February 6, 2003.
The main benefits of the Viking train include lower shipping cost, fixed schedule, reduced transit time, safety and security of goods, facilitated customs and border procedures, linkage with Baltic and Black seas and project’s environment-friendliness.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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