Transport is the third largest sector in Lithuania’s economy and its contribution into country’s GDP over the first half of last year increased by 0.3 percent in comparison with the same period of 2014 and amounted to 13,7 percent, Vice-Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania Arijandas Šliupas, at Lithuania’s Economy conference.
The reduced trade flows between Russia and the EU encouraged Lithuanian transport and logistics companies to be active in other markets, therefore, transport sector’s contribution to the export of services amounted to 60.1 percent last year. The export of services significantly increased to Netherlands (37 percent), France (36 percent), United Kingdom (27 percent), Latvia (20 percent) and Austria (12 percent). Due to its favorable geographical position, Lithuania is becoming freight transit gates to businesses in China.
“We seek to ensure smooth interaction between various modes of transport, in order to make our country a part of important logistics chain in the route of the Silk Road i.e. from Nordic countries via Klaipėda port and along the rail to China and Central Asian countries. In addition, Lithuania aims to become China’s center for freight distribution to Northern and Western Europe (HUB)”, said Vice-Minister Arijandas Šliupas.
China Merchants Group (CMG), a Chinese company for transportation and logistics, real estate development and financial investments, is in the process of launching 2 offices in Vilnius and Klaipėda (Lithuania) in March.
The contract of freight forwarding was signed with four Turkish logistics companies that are expected to help attract new clients and additional freights for container train “Viking”. A meeting among container train “Viking” partners is expected to be held in April in Azerbaijan, a country which intends to join the project as well. Another country, Kazakhstan, is also interested in the project. Finally, Swedish national rail freight service provider Green Cargo is also planning to become a member of “Viking” already this year.
A passenger train on the route Kaunas-Bialystok in planned to be launched this year. “Rail Baltica”, the European standard gauge, will provide access to Warsaw, Krakow and other Western European countries.
Furthermore, PKP Cargo, one of the largest companies providing rail freight services in Poland and the EU, started to work in Lithuania. The company’s goods trains operate in Lithuania 3 times a week since February.
It is expected that the largest Lithuania’s investment in rail projects during the EU Financial Period 2014-2020 will be “Rail Baltica” and the electrification of lines part of IXB international corridor.