Polzug Intermodal launched its unit train project within the Caucasus Mountains connecting to central Asia.
The container trains are made up of cars of the same type all going to the same destination. With no stopping for assembly and disassembly along the way, the unit trains, or block trains, offer high-volume customers an economical alternative to previous rail freight operations or to truck transport.
Polzug Intermodal runs the block railroad service along the TRACECA route, between the Georgian Black Sea port of Poti and Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea. From Baku onward shipment is by feeder across the Caspian Sea to Aktau, Kazakhstan, for rail transport to Central Asia.
The route through the Caucasus to Central Asia is a competitive alternative to the routes from the North Sea ports via Poland/Byelorussia and Ukraine/Russia, as well as from the Baltic seaports via Russia.
“The Caucasus and Central Asia are growth markets. Interest in our block train through the Caucasus has been absolutely tremendous,” said Walter Schulze-Freyberg, managing director of Polzug, in a statement.
Polzug subsidiary Silk Road Express Georgia LLC organized the first block train along the route. The goal is to build up rail container traffic between Poti and Baku to a fixed timetable as quickly as possible. Schulze-Freyberg said the project has the support of customs authorities in the countries involved.