State-owned Ukrainian Railways has set up a new freight operator to operate in Europe to improve trade and logistics links, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov has said.
Rail links to the west have been a lifeline for Ukraine and its economy since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, helping millions of people flee to safer areas and acting as a link for foreign trade and humanitarian aid.
According to Reuters, Kubrakov said the new operator – Ukrainian Railways Cargo Poland – would provide services for transporting goods, coordinate with European rail operators, cargo owners and border crossings, and control Ukrainian rolling stock abroad.
“Today, the European orientation of rail transport for Ukraine is a matter of fast logistics and support for the Ukrainian economy,” Kubrakov said on Facebook.
“The creation of a European operator will enable a significant improvement in the management of freight transport in the European direction. At the same time, we are modernising the border infrastructure and increasing its capacity.”
Difficulties in using Black Sea shipping routes during the war have underlined the need for Ukraine to improve cross-border rail links as an alternative to sea routes.
Ukraine has diverted most of its exports to rail and road. The government is also working with neighbouring Poland to bring railway gauges in western Ukraine up to European standards to ease infrastructure bottlenecks.