Estonian state-owned rail cargo operator EVR Cargo and the railway companies of Latvia and Lithuania signed an agreement in Tallinn on Tuesday on the establishment of a new regular Šeštokai-Riga-Tallinn freight transportation route, known as the Amber Train.
“Together with our Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues, we laid the foundation for a transport corridor that will enable for the transportation of goods from Western Europe to the Baltic countries and from there onto Finland as well based on a stable schedule,” EVR Cargo CEO Raul Toomsalu told reporters on Tuesday. “Within the framework of this project we have also subjected our technical procedures to a critical review and optimised them, for example initiated a transition to electronic data exchange. This is a good foundation to be able to more effectively handle other freight flows in the future as well.”
The cooperation agreement was signed on Tuesday by Toomsalu, Lithuanian Railways CEO Egidijus Lazauskas, LDz Cargo CEO Svetlana Berga, and LDz Logistika board member and Eduards Čerņavskis.
Lazauskas described the Amber Train as offering a fast, reliable and efficient rail link between Western and Northern Europe.
Čerņavskis, meanwhile, said that the Amber Train was a good example of the potential to initiate new projects with existing infrastructure. In the broad view, transportation of goods by rail allows for the reduction of the load on roads, while also allowing clients to use a single route to reach all three Baltic countries.
In the initial phase, the Amber Train, with a capacity of 62 units of 40-foot containers of will make one journey per week.
A train consisting of 43 container cars performed a test journey on the Šeštokai-Paldiski route in mid-April, carrying goods for the company Forwardis, a subsidiary of SNCF Logistics Group.
The intermodal Amber Train will transport freight on the 650-kilometer route from Šeštokai to Riga and from there on to Muuga, located just east of Tallinn. The route will be operated in Latvia by LDz Logistika and in Lithuania by that country’s state-owned railway company.