Ukraine looking to divert trade through Baltics

Cargo train goods yard in Tallinn.
Cargo train goods yard in Tallinn. Source: Matthias Rikka/Operail

Ukraine is looking to create a trade corridor with the Baltics to divert goods away from the blockaded Black Sea and Azov Sea ports, Estonia's Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications said on Wednesday.

Ministers from the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine have discussed the opening of a new transport route. Ukraine particularly wants to continue exporting grain and metal products to the world market.

"There is a will, but there are a lot of technical challenges that need to be overcome in order to transport the goods that Ukrainians want," said Minister of the Economy Taavi Aas (Center).

It is thought Baltic Seaports can be used and goods can be transported via rail.

However, one problem is the differing track gauges across the countries and another is sourcing the type of rolling stock needed for transportation.

"We want to offer assistance to Ukraine in every way possible, and we have started mapping out possible rolling stock that could be used to transport goods from Ukraine. In parallel with Latvia and Lithuania, we have recently moved closer to launching the so-called "Amber Train". Ukraine's wish could speed this process up," said Raul Toomsalu, chief of state railway logistics company Operail.

Aas said it is time to launch a regular freight service between the Baltics which could assist Ukraine if necessary. Quickly striking agreements with Lithuania and Latvia is "more important today than ever before" he said.

The four countries will continue to work to remove bottlenecks and help Ukraine, the ministry said.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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