China strengthens Ukrainian rail ties


China strengthens Ukrainian rail ties following the signing of an agreement between China’s CRCC railroad construction giant, and Ukrzaliznytsia.

Goals are to modernize Ukraine’s rail system and to promote Ukraine as a rail transit country for China’s trade with the EU. Ukrzaliznytsia is currently evaluating Chinese electric locomotives for what could be a $1 billion deal. At the signing ceremony, Wang Hongwei, deputy general director of CRCC, said his company will open an office in Kyiv this year.

Ukrzaliznytsia wants to work with CRCC to increase the transit of Chinese container trains to the EU. Last year, Belarusian Railways handled 338,500 containers on trains traveling between China and the EU, about double the 2018 volume. CRCC is a major player in Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative which seeks to diverse trade routes between China and its trading partners.

“We expect that the cooperation between Ukrzaliznytsia and CRCC will significantly improve the state of transport infrastructure,” Infrastructure Minister Vladyslav Krikliy, said at the ceremony. “We aim to attract direct structural investments in the creation of a high-speed rail network, not only between ‘millionaire’ cities in Ukraine but also…bring Ukraine to Europe…It will be possible to go to Warsaw, Budapest, and Bucharest in no more than three hours, and from Kyiv to Odesa, the train will take 1.5 hours instead of the current 7-8.”

Two private Czech region railway companies plan to launch trains between Prague and Lviv Region within the next six months. Initially, the trains would go to Mostyska 2, a Ukrainian border station with a European gauge track. If Ukrzaliznytsia fulfills plans to build 70 km of European gauge track to Lviv, the trains would run Prague-Lviv.

In mid-March, Leo Express plans to start trains between Prague and Mostyska 2. On June 14, Regio Jet, the largest Czech private railway operator, wants to start night trains from Prague to Mostyska 2, reports Rynek Kolejowy, the Polish rail news site.

Source: Ukrainian Business News