40,000 TEU per year and other facts about the Viking container train
The Viking train is one of the oldest rail freight connections of Lithuanian Railways. It has been running since 2003. Martynas Burba, Project Communications Manager at Lithuanian Railways, tells IntermodalNews more about this intermodal service.
The Viking train has been in operation for more than 17 years. Is it a popular service?
The Viking train service was launched in 2003. Since that time, it transported a container volume of 680,000 TEU. This means that we carry around 40,000 TEU every year.
What types of freight are popular on the route?
The Viking train is a railway freight service mainly dedicated to the transportation of containers from the Port of Klaipeda to the hinterland locations in Belarus and Ukraine. All types of cargo can be transported that fits into a container. Today most popular cargo on the train are wood, plastic, chemical and machinery products.
Does the Viking train transport semi-trailers too or only containers?
As of today, mainly containers are transported on the route. However, we see a big potential in carrying semi-trailers. We cooperate with Belarus and Ukrainian Railways to launch the transportation of semi-trailers in the future. To this end, specialised wagons are being developed and legislative changes to be made in Belarus and Ukraine.
Does the train run regularly or sporadically? How often?
The Viking train runs on a regular basis. Trains depart from the Port of Klaipeda every day.
What about the capacity?
Currently, there are some limitations for the customers. Each train has a capacity of 82 TEU.
The Viking train has several branches (for instance, to Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, etc.). Which ones are the most popular?
Most containers on the Viking train are carried between Belarus and the Port of Klaipeda. Meanwhile, the volume of freight moved towards Ukraine is growing year by year.
Is this connection used for freight delivery to the Caucasian countries?
At the moment, no.
What about the delivery time between the termini? For instance, from Klaipeda to Odesa, from Klaipeda to Kyiv or other destinations.
It takes around 1-2 days to transport containers on the most popular route from the Port of Klaipeda to Minsk. Containers from the Port of Klaipeda to Kyiv are transported in around 5 days.
How many hours does the train spend at the border crossings for the customs proceedings?
Border crossing procedures take about 30 min.
Do you have some problems with Belarus due to the political tensions between this state and Lithuania?
We are a commercial organisation, so our cooperation with partners and customers is based on a commercial, not political, basis.
Several years ago the Baltic Ukraine Shuttle train was launched. Is it a separate service or an additional option within the Viking train network?
It is a separate service, which is dedicated to delivering containers only between the Port of Klaipeda and Kyiv, or to be more precise, to Brovary, a city that is situated close to the Ukrainian capital. As for the Viking train, it has a much wider network of more than 80 locations for transporting containers to and from them.