Latvia begins regular service to move trucks by rail

Green Switch Latvijas Dzelzceļš has developed and is launching Green Switch, a new regular service, to relieve Latvian roads from semi-trailer trucks and the damage on the environment and the quality of roads. In addition, this project will deliver cargo owners and freight forwarders the opportunity to provide more efficient and advantageous freight transport services.

“The new LDz offer to transport semi-trailer trucks by rail will indeed serve as a kind of green transition, and freight transport in Latvia will become more environmentally-friendly, road traffic volumes will be reduced significantly, and cargo owners will be able to capitalize on unprecedented opportunities,” Latvijas Dzelzceļš Chairman of the Board Māris Kleinbergs said.

The Green Switch service of LDz offers all freight carriers to move cargoes previously transported by road in a semi-trailer to the railways, albeit without a truck and a driver, where they will be delivered to the designated port terminal in Liepāja or Ventspils and loaded onto a Stena Line ferry to travel further to Germany or the Scandinavian countries.

The new service will shift freight to rail, reducing road maintenance and repair costs, improving traffic safety on the main highways, while the total amount of CO2 emissions will decrease. “Rail is one of the greenest modes of transport in both passenger and freight transport industries, and I am pleased that LDz’s offer will benefit everyone,” Māris Kleinbergs said.

By shifting freight transport from road to rail, cargo owners will benefit a number of amenities, such as the ability to efficiently transport heavier freight without having to pay a road toll or vignette and reduced vehicle depreciation, fuel consumption and labour costs, thus reducing the total cost per mass unit. Green Switch also means that cargo owners do not to have to worry about loading their cargo onto a ferry as LDz will ensure the transfer of each semi-trailer from rail to ferry and back to rail at the ferry’s destination.

Green Switch project is implemented by the Latvijas Dzelzceļš Group including LDZ Loģistika and LDZ Cargo in cooperation with the international transport and tourism company Stena Line. The pilot project was carried out in July 2020, when a semi-trailer was transported by rail from Moscow to Liepāja Port, from which the cargo was shipped by a Stena Line ferry to Travemünde, Germany, and continued its journey by rail again from there.

Annually, road transport companies transport almost 60 million tonnes of freight by Latvian roads, and during the last five years, the volume of freight transported over Latvian roads has increased by more than 25 per cent.


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