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01 October 2019, 16:39

Latvia to electrify railway line in direction of Belarus by 2023

Talis Linkaits
Talis Linkaits

MINSK, 1 October (BelTA) – Latvia intends to finish electrification of the railway line in the direction of Belarus by 2023, Latvia's Minister for Transport Talis Linkaits said as he took part in events of the Belarusian Transport Week, BelTA has learned.

“We are happy to see the big freight flow coming from Belarus and we aim to improve our transport services. We are working on electrification of the railway line in the direction of Belarus in order to make our transport services faster and more convenient both for shipping companies and passengers, when the project is finished in 2023,” Talis Linkaits said.

According to him, at present two passenger trains run from Belarus to Latvia: Minsk-Riga and Kyiv-Minsk-Vilnius-Riga. “Both trains are popular and we see that in summer we could increase the number of trains that run from Belarus to Latvia,” Talis Linkaits noted. “The container express train Riga-Minsk launched in early 2018 has also proved competitive. Freight owners have got an opportunity to ship cargo by rail within 22 hours, cross the border under simplified procedures and use digital invoices,” he added.

Talis Linkaits believes that the freight flow between Minsk and Riga will only grow thanks to the development of the China-Belarus industrial park Great Stone. “We believe that the industrial park Great Stone has a great potential to extend the new Silk Road into Northern Europe thanks to trilateral cooperation between Latvia, China, and Belarus, he added.

Latvia sees favorable opportunities for cooperation with Belarus in aviation. “Riga International Airport is the biggest airport in the Baltic region not only in terms of passengers but also in terms of freight transportation by air. The airport can become a strategic hub for shipments of Asian goods to Europe and vice versa. We also develop e-commerce,” Talis Linkaits said.

On 2 October, Minsk will host a session of the Belarusian-Latvian intergovernmental commission on economic and sci-tech cooperation. The parties intend to sign a number of documents.

The Belarusian Transport Week 2019 focuses on the development of the national transport and logistics system using comprehensive innovative solutions. The event has brought together representatives of 11 countries (Austria, Armenia, Belarus, Italy, China, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and Switzerland). The international transport and logistics forum includes the themed exhibition Transport and Logistics and a lot of business events.

Photos by Andrei Pokumeiko

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