Transit briefs

  • 2004-03-25
The Port of Tallinn announced plans to turn Paldiski, a port located approximately 40 kilometers outside Estonia's capital, into the primary center for car imports in the Baltics.

This would mean that it would overtake the Port of Hanko as the biggest importer of new cars in the region. Plans for Paldiski involve building a parking area for 1,200 autos and adding a center for cars on their way to Latvia and Lithuania.

German Railways (Deutsche Bahn AG) and Russian Railways plan to initiate Berlin-St. Petersburg trips this spring. The trips would last one week and allow tourists to spend time in Kaliningrad, Riga, St. Petersburg and Vilnius. A spokesperson for Latvian Railways said that the technical capacities for this plan were being evaluated.

Earlier this month Latvia announced plans to liberalize its railway-services market. The country's Parliament passed amendments to the railway law on March 4 that also made the related infrastructure more easily available to passenger and cargo carriers from other countries. The changes come as a result of EU directives. Most of the requirements under the new law will take effect on May 1 this year.

Beginning on July 1, uniform rules concerning the contract for international transport of goods by rail will apply to the ferry line between the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda and the German port of Sassnitz (Mukran). Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) and Germany's rail carrier Railion Deutschland signed an agreement to this effect on March 5 with the aim of making more efficient use of the ferry line.

The Estonian Railway Board detected a violation on March 11 of an order that went into effect on March 8 and forbids the national rail company to use heavy U.S.-made locomotives on the tracks leading to Paldiski and Riisipere to the west of Tallinn. Oleg Epner (pictured), director general of the railway board, told reporters on March 17 that authorities had registered a case of non-abidance. Proceedings were lauched to invalidate the safety certificate related to the rail company's infrastructure license. Eesti Raudtee (Estonian Railways) has, meanwhile, attempted to file a lawsuit contesting the guideline.

DHL Latvia has begun offering a new service for European-based clientele. The service, dubbed Eurapid, guarantees express delivery for exporters and importers to 21 countries throughout Europe. Eurapid is unique in that it guarantees a 50 percent return of funds for all late deliveries, guarantees insurance for all cargoes worth up to 66,000 euros and tracks all deliveries via the Internet. The Eurapid network covers 98 offices and terminals throughout Europe. The minimal cargo weight for Eurapid deliveries is 31.5 kilograms, while the maximum is 2,500 kilos.