20 May 2021

Project | Intermodal transport corridor

The Intermodal Transport Corridor project is an opportunity to attract freight traffic between Turkey and the EU. This is possible as a result of the transportation of goods by sustainable means of transport — contrailer block-trains.

Organization of intermodal transportation by rail

The Turkey-EU route is involved in a significant volume of freight semi-trailers transportation, most of which are now carried out by vehicles. Also, numerous semi-trailers are transported across the Adriatic Sea by rail using “pocket” cars and RoRo ferries. 

The project allows taking over the traffic of semi-trailers transported across the Adriatic Sea. Also, it will create an alternative and cheaper route through the Black Sea with a potential of transportation of about 8,000 semi-trailers per year.

The project envisages the creation of an efficient transport corridor between the Black and Baltic Seas, using Ukraine’s transit potential, railway transport, and ferry capabilities. Moreover, it will help attract freight traffic between Turkey and Central and Northern Europe (Poland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland) and vice versa.

The project is jointly developed by a group of Ukrainian and Polish transport companies: Ukrainian ferry operator UkrFerry,“Ukrzaliznytsia” (Branch of the Liski Transport Service Center), FERRY PLUS, LTG Cargo, PKP S.A., PKP LHS, Port Gdansk. It is also implemented with the support of the Odessa Regional State Administration and the Odessa City Council.

The project includes two objects for investment:

1. Purchase of a contrailer block-trains to carry out regular transportation. In order to establish the regular contrailer block-trains routes, it is necessary to provide the necessary number of properly equipped contrailer and container platforms.

2. Development of Port of Chornomorsk infrastructure. According to the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine, the railway and ferry complex of the Port of Chornomorsk and the corresponding property of the State Enterprise “Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority” will be transferred to a concession.

Also, the project involves the upgrade of the fleet used for ferry services and the development of river-sea cruise tourist routes.

Contrailer transportation of containers and semi-trailers

Within the framework of the project a contrailer railway connection between Port of Chornomorsk railway and ferry complex and the intermodal terminal Sławków in Poland will be launched. This connection will provide transit of TIR trucks and trailers transportation by rail. As the European experience shows, those are the most sustainable means of transportation, which won’t affect the condition of Ukrainian roads.

In addition to economic importance, this intermodal route has also a great value from the political perspective. This is another step towards the practical implementation of the agreement between the Presidents of Ukraine and Poland on the development of the transport corridor between the Baltic and Black Seas. It was reached during the official visit of Polish President A. Duda to Ukraine in October 2020.

Development of Port of Chornomorsk infrastructure

The Port of Chornomorsk railway and ferry Complex is the only seaport terminal in Ukraine that carries out transshipment of railway cars, trucks, trailers, containers, general cargo, cars and passengers to ferry vessels.

Also, this railway ferry complex is the base port for the two most integral regular ferry lines in the Black Sea: Chernomorsk – Poti / Batumi (Georgia) and Chernomorsk – Khaidarpasa / Karasu (Turkey). The Black Sea-Poti / Batumi ferry line is the central route in the Eurasian Transport Corridor, which connects Ukraine and the EU with the countries of the Caucasus, Central Asia and China.

Moreover, this is the only transport route in this direction, which is an alternative to the transit of goods through the territory of the Russian Federation to Central Asia. Therefore, it has a great strategic importance for the transport independence of Ukraine.

Today, the Port of Chornomorsk is not well-equipped for ferry traffic in terms of modern infrastructure. It is necessary to create a new ferry passenger terminal, as the existing one has not enough space and cannot provide the necessary services for passengers, who are often dissatisfied with their quality.

In addition, it is necessary to create large storage areas for trucks to ensure fast and high-quality unloading and registration of vessels. This process now takes much longer than in European ports.

The time of unloading and registration of vessels is an important factor that affects the cost of transportation. The longer the vessel stays in the port, the higher the tariffs are. Moreover, it makes the port less attractive for transit cargo flows.

That is why the modernization of the port of Chornomorsk is extremely important for the implementation of intermodal transport. Its ferry complex must be able to reload trucks (TIR) quickly and in large volume.

Advantages for the transport infrastructure of Ukraine

First, the project will help connect Ukraine’s transport infrastructure to European transport routes that are used for EU trade from Turkey. The project will help attract cargo that is going to Europe. Moreover, it will become a strategic infrastructure project for Ukraine as part of its European integration process.

Also, the project creates many advantages for the development of transport infrastructure of Ukraine. As noted above, the use of contrailer railways helps to avoid the additional strain on Ukraine’s roads, which have recently been upgraded under the “Great Construction” Program initiated by the President of Ukraine.

Furthermore, this practice has long been accepted in EU countries. There, the freight traffic flows are transferred to the railway. The port of Trieste (Italy) is an example of the successful use of contrailer transportation. There is a large hub for ferry transportation, which also receives cargo from Turkey. It is then loaded onto contrailer platforms and sent by rail on ten regular routes to different countries. This helps to maintain the condition of European roads.

In addition, the use of this technology helps to reduce emissions of harmful gases into the atmosphere. Thus, the project is also important to reduce the negative impact of freight on the environment.

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