Kaunas Intermodal Terminal is opened to commercial traffic. "We can further diversify our freight traffic"

2021 07 19

Kaunas Intermodal Terminal (KIT) was opened for commercial traffic on Monday along the European Rail Baltica railway line. The first official freight train from the Netherlands also arrived there.
The connection of the Kaunas Intermodal Terminal to the European rail network via a European track makes it the easternmost point in the European rail system that can be reached by freight trains on European-standard rails.
Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis said that two trains a week will arrive here in the near future, and four trains a week are expected by the end of the year.
"I am very pleased that Rail Baltica is no longer a project of the future, but a reality, and that today we can already take advantage of the opportunities offered by the European railways in Lithuania - to further diversify the freight transport routes, to search for new markets, and to transport freight in new ways, combining different modes of transport," Minister of Transport and Communications M. Skuodis said at the official welcoming ceremony of the first train on the European railway.
"Next year I very much hope that we will also have a new route from northern Italy, where freight will also come here," he said.
About 24 million tonnes of freight are transported by road on the Polish-Lithuanian border every year, which is a huge potential for the KIT and the European railway.
"Intermodal freight transport, in cooperation between rail and road transport, would make it possible to use energy resources more efficiently, significantly reduce the CO2 footprint and increase road safety," notes Mr Skuodis.

Economic win for Lithuania

On Monday, the first train carrying containers and semi-trailers from the Netherlands arrived at the KIT, Lietuvos geležinkeliai said. According to the company, the terminal has officially become Europe's easternmost railway point.

"The opening of Kaunas Intermodal Terminal to commercial traffic is a key step in the Rail Baltica project's transition from construction to transport operations. This step will significantly improve the connectivity to Europe for freight carriers and expand sustainable transport options in the Baltic region," Transport Minister Marius Skuodis said in a statement.
Mantas Bartuška, Director General of Lithuanian Railways, stressed that this is not only an economic win for Lithuania. He said that now there are additional opportunities to develop environmentally friendly rail transport, thus reducing CO2 emissions from trucks and freeing up motorways.
Karolis Sankovskis, Managing Director of LTG Infra, the company responsible for the implementation of Rail Baltica in Lithuania, says the terminal is becoming a gateway to Europe, where cargo can be transferred from the wide Russian track to the European track, and vice versa, and also from truck to rail and vice versa.
He said the terminal is designed to load not only containers or other types of cargo into wagons, but also tractor trailers.

Western orientation of transport business

Projects connecting Lithuania with European Union markets are of exceptional importance, says Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, who opened KIT.

"In the geographic position that we are in, in the geopolitical position even, being a European Union country, but on the eastern edge, where behind us is not the space that we could call the space of the rule of law, of human freedoms, of free speech, it is obvious that we have to apply to our economic relations and to our relations a certain coefficient of the geopolitical adjustment," the Prime Minister said.
"Projects that connect us as firmly as possible to the markets of the European Union, to the networks of the European Union, are of the utmost importance," she added.
I. Šimonytė later told journalists that Lithuanian business had already learned the lessons of working with Eastern countries.
"Focusing on Western markets is always a more reliable way to ensure a sustainable and long-term business model. Yes, it may be possible to earn a better margin in the East sometimes, but the risks that are taken, including the risks of various love-hate things or some decisions that are difficult to explain with rational mind, come at a cost," the Prime Minister said.