Lithuania and Ukraine to work together to develop new logistics routes


2023 03 31

Svetainei 20230330 Memorandum between Lithuania and  Ukraine.jpg

During a visit to Poland, the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Lithuania and the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine signed a memorandum of cooperation in the field of transport and logistics. The document signed this Thursday confirmed the aspirations of the two countries to work together to develop new logistics routes for railways and other modes of transport between Ukraine and the seaports of the Baltic States, and to increase freight volumes.

“Connecting the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea through transport corridors with sufficient capacity, both by road and European standard-gauge railway, would not only speed up the Ukrainian freight transportation process, but also improve connectivity throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The challenges facing our region are common, so by working together closely, we hope to overcome them much more effectively,” said Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis after signing the memorandum at the meeting.

In the memorandum of cooperation that was signed, it was agreed to jointly apply to the institutions of the European Union (EU) regarding expansion of the North-South transport corridor connecting the Baltic, Black and Aegean seas towards the Polish-Lithuanian border. The aim is to include a link of this corridor through the Dorohusk-Jahodin border crossing at the EU-Ukraine border to the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), as well as to provide the funding needed to increase the overall capacity of the Klaipėda-Kaunas-Šeštokai-Mockava-Ełk-Białystok-Lublin-Dorohusk-Lutsk-Kyiv line.

Both countries will seek to further increase rail freight volumes between the Klaipėda seaport and Ukraine by reducing the existing legal and infrastructure obstacles. The joint actions of the countries will ensure that Ukrainian transit cargo travelling to the Klaipėda seaport will be exempt from inspection at the EU-Ukraine border crossing point.

It was also agreed that Ukraine will join the Free Rail initiative of Lithuanian Railways, in strengthening the independence and resilience of the region’s railway systems together with the Baltic States.

At the end of 2022, LTG Cargo Ukraine, a subsidiary of the Lithuanian Railways Group’s freight transportation company LTG Cargo, became the freight transportation operator between Lithuania and Ukraine.

Since the beginning of the war, the company has operated about 282 trains between Ukraine and Lithuania in both directions, and last year, more than 500,000 tonnes of freight were transported by rail.

The expansion of the European standard-gauge railway to Klaipėda and the improvement of international logistics connections across the Polish-Ukrainian border were already provided for in a memorandum signed by the Lithuanian and Polish transport ministers in Vilnius in September 2022. At the initiative of Lithuania, the other Baltic States joined the development of this corridor in January of this year.

On 29-30 March, Minister Skuodis visited the Polish-Ukrainian border in Rzeszów, where he participated in a High-level Dialogue on the development of strategic transport links in Central and Eastern Europe and support for Ukraine. Together with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Adamczyk, and other ministers, he also went to the border zone to inspect strategic infrastructure facilities.

The High-level Dialogue was organised by the International Transport Forum (ITF) and the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure to discuss how to improve connections with Ukraine by ensuring efficient transport corridors with the West and the seaports of the Baltic countries.