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First pilot container train arrived in Riga from Yiwu city in China

The first pilot container train mutually organized by Latvian and Chinese railways arrived in the Riga Central railway station today. The train has covered the route from the Yiwu city in China, through Zabaykalsk in Russia and finally arrived in Riga.

Thanks to successful cooperation of all partners involved the train has been organized in a very short period of time not typical for the transport industry – in less than four months since the initial agreement signed by the Latvian and Chinese railway companies on development of container train traffic between the two countries.

The Minister of Transport of Latvia, Uldis Augulis: “The arrival of this train i san excellent example that distance is a nice challenge, not an obstacle in the transport industry. However, it is an enormous job and everybody who has been involved in that earns gratitude. I am happy to greet the Chinese train in Latvia, and I truly hope that arrival of similar trains will soon become an ordinary everyday event!”

The President of SJSC “Latvijas dzelzceļš” (Latvian Railway), Edvīns Bērziņš: “Together with our partners such as China railway, Yiwu platform, “Interrail AG” and “TransContainer”, we have managed to bring China closer to Europe via Latvia! In less than four months after signing of the Letter of Intent between SJSC “Latvijas dzelzceļš” and China railway regarding the establishment of container train traffic, today we are not only welcoming the first test train Yiwu-Riga but already working on new routes and proposals.”

The pilot train route started in China, in the rapidly developing Yiwu city located not far from Shanghai. The train crossed the China-Russia boarder near Zabaykalsk and travelled all the way through Russia to the Latvian capital city, Riga. The total length of this route exceeds 11,000 km, and the train covered around 1,200 km per day in some parts of Russia. The train carries textiles, bathroom equipment and household goods.

The Vice-Mayor of Yiwu, Xiong Tao: “Representing a rapidly developing city, the companies of which have an essential need for convenient and efficient logistics to transport their goods to any place in the world, I can assure that Latvia has truly marked itself in our Eurasian logistics map with this pilot train. More than that – our commercial platform “Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment Co.” has already included Riga as one of the global transportation routes in its map and considers rail transport the most perspective and important freight transportation mode to Europe..”

The most important part in the development and implementation of the pilot train route is efficient cooperation of the logistics companies – the subsidiary of “Latvijas dzelzceļš”, “LDZ Logistics” and “TransContainer”, who could offer the most suitable solution for the client.

The Chairman of the Board of “LDZ Logistics”, Verners Lūsis: “It is a truly enormous work to arrange a route practically from zero and with the given time constraints. We can’t deny the fact that there was a sense of disbelief and scepticism even among professionals - and not only in Latvia. However, today I have a very special sense – and it’s not the sense of a job completed, but a sense of a job well started.”

The Director of Logistics at JSC “TransContainer”, Jury Sukmanov: “From Zabaykalsk station where the containers were transferred in the “TransContainer” terminal, to the Latvian boarder the train arrived in seven days, exceeding the planned timing. That was possible only thanks to successful cooperation with our Latvian and Chinese partners. The complex approach allows us to develop individual logistics solutions, especially with regards to the container traffic along the route China-Europe-China.”

After the successful arrival of the train, “Latvijas dzelzceļš” and “China Merchants China-Belarus Commercial and Logistics Cooperation” signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in development of marine and rail transport, especially with regard to the China-Belarus project “The Great Stone” and development of efficient traffic between China and Scandinavia.

“LDZ Logistics” and JSC “TransContainer”, in turn, signed a strategic cooperation memorandum on development of transit corridors, their speed and quality, thus facilitating attraction of Chinese cargoes to the Latvian transit corridor.

Due to the great interest in this route among the clients, Latvian Railway plans to organize a regular monthly container train in route Yiwu-Riga. The next two trains are already scheduled.  

“LDZ Logistics” develops its container train routes, using a complex, multimodal approach based on “one stop agency” principle, thus ensuring that the dispatch company has as simple and advantageous logistics chain from producer to client as possible.

The “Latvijas dzelzceļš” (Latvian Railway) Group is a state-owned rail infrastructure group of companies with six subsidiaries in charge of rail cargo transportation and logistics, international passenger transportation, infrastructure construction and maintenance, rolling stock repair and maintenance, railway security and allocation of the railway infrastructure capacities.