EUROPE: The first Amber Train branded intermodal freight service left the Šeštokai transhipment facility in Lithuania for Riga in Latvia and the Paldiski terminal in Estonia on April 19, carrying 43 containers which had originated in France.

Operations in the Baltic States were managed by Lithuanian Railways, Latvia's LDz Cargo and Estonia’s EVR Cargo on behalf of SNCF logistics business Forwardis.

The three Baltic operators had agreed to run the trial service at a meeting on March 12. 'The launch of the first train on the Amber Train route is an excellent example of effective collaboration between the national railways of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, where the essential details to bring the project to practical implementation were agreed on and co-ordinated within a month from the birth of the concept', said Mantas Bartuška, General Manager of Lithuanian Railways, when the service set off. 'Cargo from Western Europe will now reach the Baltic States in the shortest time possible.'

A meeting is to be held in Vilnius to finalise technical and commercial matters ahead of the planned start of regular operations.

Latvian Railways President Edvins Berzins said co-operation between the three Baltic States had 'resulted in real freight transportation for a client', and offered ‘great potential’. He said the planned Rail Baltica 1 435 mm gauge line 'might provide new opportunities' in the future, 'but today we can work with existing network and offer our clients convenient and efficient freight logistics.'