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Economic commission for europe inland transport committee

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Economic and Social



30 June 2006
Original: ENGLISH



Working Party on Transport Trends and Economics

Nineteenth session

Geneva, 14-15 September 2006

Item 3 (b) of the provisional agenda


Transmitted by the Governments of Lithuania and Romania

Combined transport trains “Viking” and “Merkurij”

1. Combined transport is considered to be one of priorities of Lithuanian transport development in the period 2005-2025. A network of logistic centres in Lithuania is foreseen to be created, as well as the need to develop additional legislation stimulating combined transport development will be investigated.

2. Today, the most growing segment in combined transport is transhipment of containers and transport of goods in containers. Number of containers transhipped in the Klaipėda State Seaport increased from 51 000 TEU in 2001 to 174 000 TEU in 2004, and to 214 000 TEU in 2005. Significant part of these flows are carried by rail.

3. Combined transport trains “Viking” (Klaipėda-Minsk-Odesa(Ilyichevsk) operating since February 2003 and “Merkurij” (Klaipėda/Kaliningrad-Minsk-Moscow) operating since July 2005 proved to be the best way to transport containers. Possibilities to organize other combined transport train routes continue to be analysed. Container transport by “Viking” train becomes increasingly popular. In 2005 this train carried 15 000 TEU (in both directions).

4. The idea for organizing a through service combined transport train (for transportation of containers, contrailers) on the route from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea emerged in 1999, after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by the Lithuanian and the Ukrainian Ministers of transport (Vilnius, 5 March, 1999) and assuming obligations regarding development of transport connections in the Middle Section of Crete Corridor IX. From 2000 Byelorussian Railways also joined this project.

5. In September 2002 combined transport train on the route Odesa – Klaipėda – Odesa was named “Viking”. The first combined transport train “Viking” started running from Iljichiovsk in February 2003.

6. Combined train "VIKING" is a joint project of the Lithuanian, Byelorussian and Ukrainian railways and train operators, stevedoring companies and Klaipėda, Odesa, Iljichiovsk sea harbours. Universal containers (20–40 feet, by particular consideration – also 45 feet), refrigerated, tank wagons, trailers, trucks and semi trailers are also transported by the new train.
7. Train operators are Joint Stock Company “Lithuanian Railways”, The Ukrainian State Transport Service Center “LISKI” and Belarussian National Transport Forwarding Company “Belintertrans”.
8. Train route is: Iljichiovsk – Odesa – Usatovo – Kotovsk – Zhmerinka – Kazatin – Berdichev –Korosten – Berezhest / Slovechno – Kalinkovichy – Zhlobino – Osipovichy – Kaliadichy – Molodechno – Gudogaj/ Kena – Vaidotai –Radvilishkis – Klaipėda – Draugystė.

9. It is foreseen to load and unload the goods at way stations, such as: Paneriai (Vilnius, Lithuania), Kaliadichy (Minsk, Belarus) and Kyiv- Liski (Kyiv, the Ukraine).

10. It is possible to send cargo in containers and contrailers not only to the ports of Klaipėda (Lithuania), Odesa and Iljichiovsk (Ukraine), but also to railway stations on the route of the „Viking“ train in Lithuania and Ukraine. Cargo in containers can be transported to all railway stations in Belarus which are equipped for the receiving and issuance of cargo in containers.
11. Distance through Lithuania (Draugystė–Kena) is 434 km; through Byelorussia (Gudogaj–Slovechno) 544 km, and through Ukraine (Berezhest–Iljichevsk) – 756 km (overall length of the route is 1734 km).
12. Containers’ and ro-ro lines connect Klaipėda and Odesa sea harbours with the ports in both regions (of the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea): Klaipėda, Imingham, Rotterdam, Antwerpen, Hamburg, Bremerhafen, Kiel, Mukran, Aabenraa, Aarchus, Karlshamn, Gdynia, Kaliningrad, Riga, Odesa, Ilyichevsk, Poti, Istanbul, Pireas, Varna, Constantza.

13. The Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Transport of the Ukraine and the parties involved in “Viking” project work towards using this train for transport to the ports mentioned above and to Central Asia (through Caucasus), strengthening and developing these transport links.

14. Train timetable: Fixed train departure is every Tuesday from Draugystė station (Klaipėda Seaport) and every Friday from Iljichiovsk Paromnaja station (Odesa and Iljichevsk ports). Due to high popularity of train services there are also 3 additional departures during the week from Ukraine ports to Klaipėda and backwards. Depending on season and direction, train running time is 53-59 hours. Train operators provide a detailed time-schedule.

15. Advantages of transportation by “Viking” in comparison with transportation by road on the same route are as follows: attractive tariff, prompt delivery of goods from the original station to the destination station, safety, easy borders crossing and customs procedures, environmentally friendly transportation. Tariffs for containers and rail-road transportation from Black Sea to the Baltic Sea by “Viking” are considerably lower than road haulage tariffs on the same route.

16. Customs procedures for train “Viking“ takes 30 minutes per train in Lithuania. The “Viking” train is equipped with wagon-lit for drivers. The expenses for using such service are included in cartage of trucks. In 2005 “Viking” transported 14 923 TEU containers.
17. With the objective to develop semi-trailer transport by “Viking”, further activities of the train operators shall concentrate on extension of terminals capacities, purchasing of special wagons to make the load/securing easier and close contacts with freight owners (because road transport companies are more interested in transport by road or trucks transport by rail). Increase in fuel prices gives additional opportunities for contrailer transport by rail. There is, therefore, a belief that contrailer transport by “Viking” has good perspective, too.

18. In summary, the mission of combined transport train “Viking” is to join easily the regions of Black Sea and Baltic Sea.

Contacts for “Viking” operators:

Joint Stock Company “Lithuanian Railways”

Directorate “Freight transportation”

LG Ekspedicija Division

Phone: (+370 5) 269 3244, 269 3239, 269 3254

Phone/fax: (370 5) 269 3487, 269 3594


Mindaugo Str. 12/14

Vilnius LT-03603, Lithuania
The Ukrainian State Transport Service Center “LISKI”

Phone/fax: (380 44) 568 7705, 5687524, 5688963


Dovbush Str. 22

Kyiv – 092, Ukraine

Belarussian National Transport Forwarding Company

Phone: (+ 375 17) 225 2006

Fax: (+37517) 229 2519


Sverdlov Str. 28

Minsk, Belarus
Container train “Mercury”

19. To increase the competitiveness of Klaipėda and Kaliningrad seaports in respect of Baltic seaports of other regions, the Lithuanian and Russian Ministers of Foreign Affairs and of Transport and Communications during their meeting on 26 May 2005, signed The Governmental Agreement on Cooperation between Klaipėda and Kaliningrad Seaports – Project “2K“. For the implementation of this project, the Agreement on Organisation of Freight Transport by the Route Kaliningrad/Klaipėda – Moscow by the Container train Mercury was signed on the same day.

20. Container train Mercury is the second international project with the participation of Lithuanian Railways. It is implemented by Lithuanian, Russian and Belarusian railway companies.

21. Mercury train is intended for transportation of 20, 40 and 45-foot universal and special containers on line Klaipėda/Kaliningrad – Minsk – Moscow and back. After leaving Klaipėda and Kaliningrad seaports trains arrive in Vaidotai station, where wagons with containers are marshalled and made up into a joint block train, which is sent further to the destination station. Trains in opposite direction, after leaving the initial station, come to Vaidotai station, where wagons with containers are marshalled and afterwards two separate trains are directed to Klaipėda and Kaliningrad seaports. The line Klaipėda – Moscow (1335 km) is covered in 48 hours, and to cover the line Kaliningrad-Moscow (1288 km) it takes 51 hours.

22. For container transportation to Klaipėda Seaport by “Mercury“, Lithuanian railways are applying a tariff which is approximately 10% lower than that for freight transportation by ordinary train.
23. Additional logistics services will be delivered to those carrying freight by Mercury train. The mentioned services will enable “door- to door“ delivery, as well as better opportunities for freight.
24. “Mercury” train was launched from Klaipeda on 23 July 2005. In 2005 a total of 1,457 containers were carried from both Baltic Ports.
25. In the framework of the project ZEUSS (responsible Railion Deutschland AG) which has as the main goal the improvement of the quality of the railway transport services on the railway of South-East Europe, CFR Marfa has surveyed transit of the CFR network by two trains for combined transport. Namely, the block train (containers, mobile boxes, road semi-trailers) from Cologne (Germany) to Kosekoy (Turkey) and the return trip, and the block train from Duisburg – Halkali (Istanbul) and its return trip.

26. Here is the analysis of the circulation of these trains:

On the south to north relation the train (Kosekoy – Cologne) made run 189 times and the other train (Halkali – Duisburg) made it 38 times. On the north to south relation, the first train made the trip 193 times and the other train (Duisburg – Halkali) 39 times.

27. For these trains, CFR Marfa:

(a) offers the priority in the circulation on the CFR network;

(b) undertakes measures to reduce duration of the transport by an effective monitoring of the circulation of trains by the traffic services;

(c) analyses and optimizes technological and economic process at the border stations Ruse and Curtici by efficient cooperation with relevant State bodies (customs, phytosanitary, sanitary, veterinary, border crossing police etc.);

(d) informs the customer (Transfesa/Railog) in case of commercial and technical difficulties occurring at the border crossing stations and suggest the way towards their settlement.

28. Also, Okombi (Austria) and Rail Cargo Austria work on a RO-LA project (road motor-trains embarked on specialized wagons RO-LA) on the relation Halkali (Turkey) – Wels (Austria) and the return way, with transit through Romania.

29. CFR Marfa performs regular trips with ferryboats on the from Constanta-Derince (Turkey-Derince) with CFR Marfa charged reserved wagons. Two ferryboats Eforie and Mangalia have a capacity of 12,000 tonnes dead weight and can load for every voyage either 70 wagons and 40 TIR lorries, or 107 wagons or 80 TIR lorries.



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