«Mumbai express» to be tested this year

Plans are being drawn up to test a container train route from the Indian city of Mumbai to Riga later this year, Verners Lusis, CEO of LDz Logistika, said at a meeting of the Latvian Council of Ports, Transit and Logistics February 15.

According to the plan, containers from the port of Mumbai will be shipped by sea to the Iranian port of Banda Abbas. From there, they will be carried by train to Riga, the LETA newswire said.

“The problem is that there is still no railway in some sections in Iran, which is why from Bandar Abbas containers are being carried by automobiles to Azerbaijan’s border. Iranian officials have said, however, that the construction of the missing railway sections will be completed in March or April and then the containers could be delivered from Mumbai to Riga in 15 days,” Lusis said.

He added that interests in this route is strong in India and that India ships about 50 million tons of container cargo a year.

Managers of Latvijas Dzelzcels (Latvian Railways) and its subsidiary LDz Logistika visited India earlier this month to meet with local entrepreneurs and discuss possibilities of shipping Indian cargo to and through Latvia.

Latvijas Dzelzcels, which is involved in the development of the International North-South Transport Corridor, offers potential partners access to the Baltic Sea, providing Asian countries the opportunity to deliver their cargos to Western Europe. Work on the transport corridor is one of LDz Logistika’s priorities.

Last year a similar trial run saw a goods train successfully arrive at Riga central station after a journey from China. 

The initiative was announced just one day after Transport Minister Ulds Augulis said in a review of his year in office since the government to Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis took charge that links to India and Iran were needed.

"In 2016 the first Chinese test container arrived in Latvia, but now work continues on the organization of the next train from China. It is essential now to ensure cooperation with Belarus, where Latvia sees opportunities for an ambitious logistics center... work should also continue to find new routes to Iran and India," said a Transport Ministry release on February 14.

Two weeks ago ministry officials were at a trade fair in Mumbai "talking to potential cooperation partners" using the slogan: "Latvia - your gateway to Northern Europe, Russia and CIS."


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