Lithuania offers to assist Ukraine in exporting grain via the Neman River
The Lithuanian Maritime Cluster, which brings together the maritime business and scientific community of the country, proposes delivering Ukrainian grain to the port of Klaipeda via the Neman River, according to delfi.lt.
As per the report, the Lithuanian Maritime Cluster, in collaboration with its founders and members including the Klaipeda Seaport Cargo Handling Company Bega and Vakarų laivų gamykla JSC, in cooperation with the Directorate of Inland Waterways and Klaipeda University, prepared the project "Electrification for a Green Port" in 2021.
The aim of the project is to develop cargo transportation along inland waterways, expand the market of services of the Klaipeda port, enhance their accessibility, reduce CO2 emissions during transportation of goods between the regions of Lithuania and the Klaipeda seaport.
"When transporting Ukrainian grain by rail and reloading it in Kaunas, it would be necessary to change the track gauge or transfer the container from one train to another, not twice - this would significantly impact cost savings. It would be possible to enhance the capacities for storage and handling of grain at Linas Agro, which is already operational on the banks of the Neman in Kaunas and Jurbarkas," said the head of the cargo handling company Bega, Liimonas Rimkus, adding that cargo transportation along inland waterways could be 30-40% cheaper than by land.
In Rimkus' opinion, the construction of a European railway gauge to Klaipeda is a strategic task and will require time. By incorporating their internal waterways into the transportation chain now, Lithuania could receive not only Ukrainian grain transported along the Neman but also other cargoes at the Klaipeda port, the carrier is confident.
"Opening the possibility to reload goods from railway wagons and containers in Kaunas and continue transporting them by river to Klaipeda would increase the attractiveness of our port in the southeastern Poland market. Thanks to a well-developed waterway that brings Klaipeda's maritime cargo transportation closer to this neighboring country's region by about 100 kilometers, we would become an alternative to the ports of Gdansk and Gdynia," he said.
According to the report, efforts are being made in Lithuania to revive freight river transportation along the country's largest river. The first barge in Lithuania after regaining independence, which delivered cargo from the Klaipeda seaport, docked at the Marvalė port in Kaunas in 2019, and since then, a series of successful logistics projects have been implemented, and the navigable canal is constantly being upgraded