The milestone train arrived from the Global Ports VSK terminal in Nakhodka at its FCT terminal in Saint Petersburg on July 6, 2021. It carried 78 containers of 125 TEUs with equipment and spare parts, accumulators, furniture, textiles, and other goods. At first the containers had been delivered by sea from China, Korea, and Taiwan to VSK in port Vostochny, where they were transferred onto train and dispatched to Saint Petersburg. At FCT containers will be loaded onto Maersk short sea vessel for further delivery to ports of Poland and the United Kingdom.
Zsolt Katona, Managing Director of Maersk in Eastern Europe, said:
"Two years ago at the launch of the first transit block train along the Asia-Europe AE19 route we could not imagine that we would be able to celebrate already the 100th train in just 2 years! Such a quick development of this new transit option between Pacific and Baltic coasts of Russia became possible thanks to well-coordinated and dedicated work from all participants of this important project: shippers, partners, and Russian government authorities. I can safely say that the smooth operation of AE19 during these two years has acquired a good reputation among our customers and earned their high trust as the fastest and safest way to deliver container cargoes from Asia to Europe. I am sure that Russia has significant potential for increasing international transit. Our company will make every effort to further develop existing and new transit services via the Russian seaports and the Trans-Siberian railway".
Albert Likholet, CEO of Global Ports, also commented:
"We are seeing a steady growth in demand for transit shipments from Asia to Europe and back via Russia. During the first half of 2021, VSC and FCT handled 20,400 TEUs of transit cargoes between Europe and Asia, six times more than in the same period in 2020. More than half of the transit volume between Europe and Asia was carried by AE19. These figures confirm the market demand for this offering and the great growth potential of this container transcontinental service. We are grateful to our partners Maersk and Modul, and our Global Ports customers for their continued trust. Global Ports will continue to provide a high level of service throughout our terminal network and support our partners in attracting cargo to the route".
Alexander Altshuller, General Director of Modul Transport and Forwarding Company, notes:
"We perfectly remember our first train which arrived from Nakhodka 2 years ago, it was loaded up to 50%. However due to the high level of service backed by professionalism and well-coordinated work of all the project stakeholders – Russian Railways, Federal Customs Service, Modul, Maersk, and Global Ports – it’s fair to say that there is a waiting list of transit cargoes for our trains now. Starting from November 2020 AE19 trains dispatch up to 4 times a week, and the load factor keeps at 100%. We continue to develop the transit potential of our country by expanding the volume of international traffic by launching regular container train services; currently we actively develop Nakhodka – Azerbaijan and Nakhodka – Turkmenistan routes".
The international intermodal container transit service from Asia to Europe - АЕ19 - was launched in August 2019. The project was organized by Maersk in partnership with Global Ports Group (responsible for handling transit cargoes at its sea terminals located in Baltics and in the Far East of Russia) and with Modul Transport and Forwarding Company (responsible for the rail leg of the product within the network of the Russian Railways in the territory of Russia).
The service ensures prompt delivery of cargoes from Asia to Europe avoiding Suez via the ports Vostochny and Saint Petersburg, and using Trans-Siberian railway for the rail leg of transit. Therefore the time of delivery from Asia to Europe is 20-25 days shorter than the time of sea carriage.
АЕ19 offers overall transit time of delivery of 25-30 days, and rail connection between Russian ports takes 11 days. Transit trains from VSK to FCT (AE19) are scheduled 4 times a week. In the opposite direction from Europe to Asia (ЕА19) trains dispatch on a weekly basis.
In the first half of 2021, volumes of transit cargoes along the route АЕ19-ЕА19 Asia-Europe-Asia increased 5.5 times up to 6,200 TEUs. In total, 10,700 TEUs of transit cargoes were transported from Asia to Europe and vice versa as part of the service from the launch of АЕ19 in autumn 2019 to June 2021.
In addition to АЕ19, starting from April 2021 Maersk joined forces with Global Ports and Modul to transport cargoes with АЕ77 service from VSK terminal to Novorossiysk and further to the countries of Southern Europe; it also provides other transit services to European countries.