Alona Lebedieva: The creation of high-speed transshipment points on the border with the EU is currently the optimal solution for the “European integration” of Ukrainian railways

The construction of new railway corridors with European track width in Ukraine is not sufficient to ensure the integration of the country’s railway system into the EU and requires significant capital investments and additional measures, explained, the owner of the Aurum Industrial and Investment Group Alona Lebedieva.

First of all, in the matter of changing the track gauge, it is worth keeping in mind that it is not just reinstalling the rails. We are also talking about a complete replacement of rolling stock and traction, which in our conditions does not seem realistic and requires colossal funds and production capacities, – has commented Alona Lebedieva, – The experts of the Aurum Group, investigating this issue, determined that in our conditions the most optimal solution in terms of price and efficiency would be the creation of high-speed transshipment points on the border, electrified and equipped with everything necessary, in particular, the necessary number of trolleys fit for different tracks and terminals to conduct transshipment from car to car.

In addition, Alona Lebedieva highlights a number of accompanying processes that may not be obvious, but will affect the railway industry in Ukraine one way: “The question of the European track, which arose acutely during the war, may now seem more urgent than it really is. Most of Ukraine’s international exports were going through the Black Sea ports to the countries of Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Goods were (and are) delivered to the ports by the track of the current format. In the conditions of the enemy blockade of the coast, it is clear that the turnover of goods is redirected by railway to neighboring countries, such as Poland or Romania, increasing volumes and actualizing the issue of transshipment due to the difference in track formats, – has noted Alona Lebedieva, – And such an issue as reinstalling the railway track of a different gauge is not about a short-term perspective, but about serious capital investments and a large volume of long-term work.

Nevertheless, according to Alona Lebedieva, precisely in the long term, taking into account all the nuances, adaptation of Ukrainian production of railway products of a new model and corresponding rolling stock, adaptation of Ukrainian railway norms and standards to European norms – the unification of the railway networks of Ukraine and Europe will become an additional incentive for bilateral land trade and passenger traffic.