Direct high-speed container trains from China to Ukraine began to roll in May 2020, and the Kiev’s Liski station welcomed its first such train on June 8. The train covered 9,000 kilometers through 4 countries in 15 days. These trains depart for Ukraine from different parts of China, and customers may choose options that minimize their first-mile costs. Compared to sea freight, high-speed container train transportation offers faster delivery without requiring advance payment for the placement of cargo.
According to Irina Zaika, a Freight Forwarder in the CIS Railway Transportation Department, the main purpose of high-speed container trains is to reduce delivery times from China to Ukraine.
“The delivery time from the departure station in China to the destination station in Ukraine is 18-23 days. A block train consists of 41-51 units of 40`HQ containers. The maximum gross weight of cargo in a container is 26 tons. In general, high-speed container trains from China to Ukraine can accommodate non-hazardous cargo that does not require temperature control. Goods containing liquids, oils, or batteries in any form are prohibited. Transshipment of containers from narrow Zamyn-Üüd gauge platforms (1,435 mm) to wide gauge platforms (1,520 mm) takes place at the Erlian border crossing,” continues Irina Zaika.
High-speed container train transportation from China to Ukraine is provided within the framework of the "One Belt – One Road" international trade initiative. Since the service was launched, the trains have been arriving at the Kiev Liski station from the stations of Yantai, Xian, Wuhan, Nanchang, Changsha, Zinhua, and Zynan. As of June 2021, direct container trains from China are arriving at the terminal in Odessa. This new route will strengthen Ukraine's position on the logistics map of trade between Europe and Asia. Before entering Ukraine, the block trains to Kiev pass through China, Mongolia, and Russia, and the trains to Odessa pass through China, Kazakhstan, and Russia.
According to a Ukrainian Railways report, 425 thousand TEUs were transported across the territory of Ukraine in 2020. This is 10.7% more than in 2019. Of these, 230 thousand TEUs were delivered with high-speed container trains, 41% more than in the previous year.
In 2021, the AsstrA representative office in Ukraine received its own transit railway code, thanks to which customers can take advantage of uninterrupted transit through Ukraine.
“When your logistics partner has their own transit code, transportation project preparation is faster as there is no need to handle additional formalities with the national rail service. This is particularly beneficial for companies not resident in Ukraine, as the local AsstrA team handles all the unique aspects of the transportation processes here,” adds Irina Zaika.