THE first loaded freight train from Ukraine to China departed Kyiv on September 28 and is expected to take 18 days to reach its destination of Xi’an. 

The train consisted of 43 40ft containers filled with lumber. The journey is almost 10,000km and will operate through four countries.  

Negotiations between the two countries have been underway for some time about the development of export opportunities.  

“It is important for us to integrate into the global system of multimodal transport, which is expanding rapidly and defines modern logistics,” says Mr Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s minister of infrastructure. “For example, in the EU the share of container traffic is about 45%. In Ukraine, we are talking about only 2.5%.” 

“We plan that such trains will become regular,” Mr Oleksandr Kamyshin, the acting chairman of Ukrainian Railways (UZ), said at the launch. Kubrakov says Ukraine cannot make the full use of its geographical location because its rail and port infrastructure is outdated. But at the same time the country cannot ignore the demand and potential of multimodal transport, particularly with Asian countries, so there is a need to upgrade and build infrastructure in the future he says.  

In mid-September the 50th container train arrived in Ukraine from China.