Lithuania Is the Postal Hub of Europe. What Does That Mean?
Are you sending something to Europe? There is a high chance your parcels will become a historical part of a partnership between Lithuania and China!
Lithuania has recently become the hotspot of attention after it became the postal hub of Europe. The collaboration between China, Lithuanian Post, and Lithuanian Railways is now bringing Europeans their goods by railway. Trains from China filled with freight addressed to numerous cities in Europe head to Vilnius, where Lithuanian Post distributes the parcels, sending them to their final destinations.
What are the benefits of such collaboration? Why is it important? To answer these questions, Enterprise Lithuania spoke to representatives from Lithuanian Railways and Lithuanian Post.
Rolandas Brazinskas, Chief Representative of Lithuanian Railways Regional Office in Beijing
Tell us about Lithuanian Railways work in China.
Lithuanian Railway Regional Office in Beijing is operating for seven years already. We help Lithuanian Railways with marketing in China, participate in exhibitions, and generally help spread the news about the company abroad and deepen the bilateral relations.
When did the China-Lithuania cargo partnership take roots and how did it develop?
The first freight trains from China reached Europe back in 2011 when the One Belt One Road initiative started. The Lithuanian team was also assisting in organizing those first cargo trains. Since then, we have been negotiating the transit possibility through Lithuania. Given the good relations between the two countries, China Post has become one of the first large partners of the Lithuanian Post.
It became especially important when the Covid-19 pandemic started. Most of the air carriers had to stop their services, and cargo transportation by train has become essential.
That is when the partners have decided to organize full postal cargo trains from China to Lithuania. Currently, the trains are leaving Chongqing, Yiwu, Dongguan, and arrive in Vilnius. During this short period, Lithuania has received 33 full postal trains. That is a record number. That led to Lithuania establishing itself as the postal hub of Europe, where further distribution to other countries happens.
How is the partnership with China distinctive?
China possibly generates the most amount of cargo and parcels in the world, thus for such a small country as Lithuania, this is an incredibly significant partnership. I also want to stress that it is an equal partnership since Lithuanian Post has proven it is capable of delivering quality service on time. Duration of transit is another essential element, and Lithuania has proved it can deliver on time. It currently takes nine days for the train from Chongqing to reach Vilnius.
We hope this partnership and transporting parcels from China to Europe by train will remain a popular way of moving goods, since it is much cheaper than air freight.
What does it bring to Lithuania in the European context?
In the European context, being equal partners with one of the largest countries in the world is highly significant. It is a strong pointer to the quality of services Lithuanian companies can deliver. All the success is thanks to the specialists on both sides. The work relentlessly to create the best practices for collaboration.
Are there plans for further expansion in the future?
Lithuanian Railways is increasingly working towards receiving more cargo from China and, in the future, will offer transportation from Lithuania to China as well.
Tadas Drunga, Head of International Business Department of Lithuanian Post
What is the role of the Lithuanian Post in this partnership?
Lithuanian Post is responsible for distributing the parcels from China. It currently distributes goods to 30 European countries!
What would you say are some of the advantages?
There are a couple of significant advantages of such a partnership. From Lithuania Post’s point of view, it brings a considerable increase in revenue.
This project has also been written about by many foreign media outlets, thus bringing additional exposure. So, Lithuania becoming the postal hub of Europe not only brings advantages to the companies but to the image of the country as well. When executing the project, we closely collaborated with Lithuanian public institutions as well as private companies. The successful implementation of the project proves that Lithuania is ready to take on large scale ideas and can deliver quality results.
Additionally, the partnership between China Post and Lithuania Post and the immensity of the project that Lithuania Post has undertaken proves that the company is capable of executing large scale international collaborations and is a trusted partner. All of this helps Lithuania Post to establish itself as a regional transit center and will be useful in future projects.
In terms of Lithuania, it also creates extra revenue for Lithuanian Railways and other national and international freight companies.
What is unique about the partnership with China?
The partnership with China is unique in its size and opportunities. China has significant potential, so if the partners are satisfied with the service, the project can quickly expand. Of course, that can also pose some difficulties. Companies need to react fast and adapt to the needs of partners and ensure that the infrastructure lives up to their expectations.
Can consumers feel the benefits of this collaboration?
Europeans and Chinese consumers and companies can also feel the benefits of this partnership. The risk of not being able to deliver parcels from China to Europe during Covid-19 has increased due to the minimized number of flights between the continents. However, cargo transportation by railways solved this problem and senders in China can rest assured their packages will reach Europe in time. Now there is a possibility to move large amounts of cargo from China to Europe fast and ensure their speedy distribution in the continent. Overall, transportation by rail remains the most reliable, fast, and sometimes, the only way of delivering products.
Chinese consumers also trust the quality of European goods, so in the future, we are planning to not only be the receiving postal hub of Europe, but also the dispatching one!
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