“Rail Baltica”: an ambitious project in the Baltic States

Rail Baltica is one of the largest railway infrastructure projects in the Baltic States, which will result in an electrified European gauge railway line built stretching through Warsaw, Kaunas, Riga and Tallinn. Around 5.8 billion euro has been budgeted for the construction of the project. The construction of a new electrified European railway line will reinforce Lithuania’s position as one of the most attractive countries for investment opportunities.

The Rail Baltica project will become a significant strategic incentive to attract more foreign investment to Lithuania.  Giedrius Valuckas, the President of the Lithuanian Association of Free Economic Zones, says: “Lithuania will be placed in a highly convenient location between Asia and Europe, which has two different standard gauge railways intersect, and we will be situated at the point which is greatly convenient for developing processing production – turning raw materials into value-added products and delivering them to the final consumer; it is the aspiration of every economy. Our geographical position is favourable already, while with the implementation of the strategic Rail Baltica project, we will become even more competitive.”

In today’s situation, Lithuania is readily accessible by rail from Asia; freight may be easily carried to European countries by road, and Klaipėda boasts an operating ice-free seaport. The completion of the European gauge track project will make freight transport even easier. It is known that a large proportion of foreign investors choose Lithuania not just for its appealing legal and tax incentives, but also because of its convenient geographic location. According to Mr Valuckas, foreign companies consider eco-friendliness to be of key importance, while railway is deemed one of the most attractive means of transport for this purpose. Rail Baltica will become an excellent opportunity for not only freight, but also passenger transportation. During the pandemic, it has been difficult for foreign experts, who had been tasked with launching and supervising production and technological processes in factories set up by foreign companies, to fly. The Rail Baltica’s new railway will be convenient for the companies at the Kaunas and Panevėžys FEZs. Freight from other FEZs will get easily delivered to the new railway line by road, and from the Klaipėda FEZ, by rail.

It has been officially announced that the speed of freight trains involved in the Rail Baltica project will reach 120 km/h, while the passenger trains will achieve the speed of up to 249 km/h. The total length of the Rail Baltica railway line across the Baltics makes up 870 km.

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