The first freight train from Ukraine, which departed on January 15, heading for Central Asian countries via Georgia and Azerbaijan and allowing transportation of Ukrainian commodities bypassing Russian territory, arrived at the Chinese border on January 31, the Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry reported on its website.
At 07:12 local time on January 31, the train reached its destination at Dostyk station of Kazakhstan's railway, according to the statement.
It is reported that from the spot, the cargo will be delivered to China's major industrial cities of Guangzhou, Chongqing, and Lianyungang.
According to the ministry's press service, the duration of the route was 15.5 days, which is longer than 11-12 days earlier predicted by the transport ministry. The delay is due to a storm in the Black Sea and some downtime at Zhanaarka station in Kazakhstan due to a lack of coordination regarding the procedure of payment to the Kazakh side.
The train currently located at Dostyk station will also be loaded with goods for its return trip.
As reported earlier, the route was developed in early January following Russia's decision to ban the transit of Ukrainian goods through Russian territory as of January 4.
The countries that were engaged in arranging the new route had agreed all the formalities within a few days, including the establishment of competitive tariffs for cargo transportation via this route.
Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Andriy Pyvovarsky previously noted that the route was a cost-effective alternative to the traditional route through the Russian territory, but he did not specify tariff rates.
According to some media reports, the preliminary cost of freight of a 40-foot container FEU from Ukraine to the Chinese border (Dostyk railway station) may reach $5,000.
At the same time, ex-deputy infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kava said the cost of transportation of a container via the new route, which bypasses Russia, was double the cost along the traditional overland route through the territory of the Russian Federation, amounting to $7,927.
Ukrainian Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Oleksiy Pavlenko also stressed that the cost of delivery of Ukrainian goods to the Central Asian countries along the new route bypassing Russia would be more expensive than a traditional route through the Russian territory, in connection with the fact that the new route includes transportation by ferries through the Caspian and Black Seas.