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Lithuanian Railways strengthens the ties with Poland: a new train from Vilnius to Warsaw and a joint freight transportation company in the plans

On 17 September, with the participation of the Prime Ministers of Poland and Lithuania, two important agreements were signed between Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (LTG) and the Polish Railway Company PKP. The first agreement establishes a commitment to connect the capitals of the two countries by comfortable passenger train service, the second one – a commitment of the two companies to start joint activities in rail freight transportation in Lithuania and Poland.

The signing ceremony took place at the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania and was attended by Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki and Prime Minister of Lithuania Saulius Skvernelis. Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania Saulius Skvernelis emphasized the importance of these agreements in uniting Lithuania and Poland with even stronger social and economic ties.

"Poland is a strategic partner of Lithuania in both political and economic terms. Thus, I am incredibly happy about the future convenient connection for people travelling between Warsaw and Vilnius. The convenient and ecological connection shall make a basis for holiday trips, cultural cooperation and the movement of the business community", said Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania Saulius Skvernelis.

S. Skvernelis emphasized that the second agreement signed by the companies – providing for common transportation of intermodal freight by rails – will also be of great importance to the economy of Lithuania. On this basis, logistics companies and the entire business community of the region will have an economically attractive and ecological freight transportation alternative.

"The European Union actively advocates the shift of traffic flows from roads to rails or waterways. This allows for creating more sustainable and less polluting routes for freight transportation and vacates roads. This is relevant for Lithuania in pursuing its ecological goals; however, it also ensures practical benefits – after all, we perfectly know how intensive the vehicle corridor between Lithuania and Poland is", said the Prime Minister.

Convenient connection for passengers

During the meeting, an LTG Group company LTG Link and a PKP subsidiary PKP Intercity signed a memorandum of understanding, which establishes the commitment of the Parties to connect the capitals of Lithuania and Poland by a comfortable train already in the second half of 2021, which will meet the needs of modern travellers. It is planned that a trip from Vilnius to Warsaw or back will last approximately 8 hours.

Mantas Bartuška, CEO of LTG Group, emphasized the significance of this connection in the context of the Rail Baltica project.

"It will be like an introduction to the opening of the Rail Baltica line. In the beginning, we expect to carry 35,000 passengers per year, and to reach the peak of traveller flows after the construction of the European gauge rail line to Vilnius is completed. I have no doubts that it will become the most popular choice for people to travel between the two countries. However, the most important thing is that already next year we will be able to travel to Poland by train, leaving the smallest trace of pollution compared to other modes of transport", said Mantas Bartuška, CEO of LTG.

At the meeting, Krzysztof Mamiński, Chairman of the Board of PKP S. A., was pleased with the works carried out by Lithuania and Poland in strengthening mutual cooperation in the field of railway transport.

"Cooperation in the field of railway transport between our countries is gaining momentum every day. I am very pleased with this development, and I am glad that our work is yielding positive results. I am convinced that the actions taken will allow for creating a new alternative for communication between Poland and Lithuania for both the public and businesses, which will meet their expectations", said Krzysztof Maminskis.

Economic connection for freight transportation

During the event, LTG and PKP also signed a joint venture and shareholders' agreement on the establishment of a joint venture company that will perform the carriage of intermodal freight. This agreement was signed by the Polish company PKP Cargo and the subsidiary of LTG Cargo in Poland, LTG Cargo Polska. The joint venture company is scheduled to launch its operations in the first quarter of next year.

"The strategy of the LTG Group includes ambitious goals outside Lithuania. I am glad that these goals are gaining clear contours and that we will soon be counting the first tonnes carried outside Lithuania. The partnership with the market leader PKP Cargo will be the best tool to achieve this goal – I am grateful to our partners for their trust, and I wish the joint venture company to achieve excellent performance results", said Mantas Bartuška, CEO of LTG.

The joint venture company will primarily engage in intermodal transportation between Lithuania and Poland, as well as will offer freight transportation services to freight terminals in Germany and Northern Italy. In the development of services, major attention will be paid to the transportation of semi-trailers and containers.

Intermodal transportation, when several modes of transport are combined, saves not only logistics costs suffered by businesses but also reduces environmental pollution, congestion, noise, road accidents and other negative effects of road transport on the environment. Freight transportation by rails emits three times less CO2 than road transport, besides, the number of road accidents is also reduced.

About 24 million tonnes of freight are transported between Lithuania and Poland every year. of which only 0.6 million tonnes are transported by rails. Every year approximately 1.8 million tonnes cross the borders between Poland and Lithuania.

Updated on 2020-09-24