Lithuania is a member of the World Trade Organisation (since 2001), the member of the European Union and NATO (from 2004). In 2007 it joined the Schengen area and in 2015 became the Eurozone member.
Lithuania is a transit country with a well-developed road and rail infrastructure, and four international airports. Freight train Vikingas, connecting the Baltic and the Black Seas, in 2014 was awarded with BESTFACT research programme award of the European Union as the Best Green logistics and multi-modal transportation project. The country has two railway systems – the European (1435 mm) and the Russian (1,520 mm) gauge.
As many as two of the ten most important European Union transport corridors cross the territory of Lithuania: I North-South corridor connecting Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Kaliningrad (IA branch), and IX East-West corridor connecting the Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Kaliningrad (IXD branch).
Cargo transportation in Lithuania
European transport corridors I and IX are used for carriage of about 80 percent of all transit freight through Lithuania. Most transit freight is transported by rail – about 60 percent of all cargo in transit through Lithuania! The largest flows of goods in international transport market are goods destined to Russia and Belarus with a turnover of more than 40% of all international freight.
Direct rail routes link Lithuania with Russia, Belarus, Latvia and Estonia, Poland and Germany. Rail is used to transport oil products, fertilizers, mineral products, metals, wood, vegetable products, a variety of small cargo, frozen products, cargo in containers, computers.
Lithuania is part of the intercontinental railway network of TRACECA. TRACECA is a railway network with a total Russian standard railway track length of 5,113 km, connecting European Union countries with Caucasus and Central Asia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Moldova, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan.
Cargo transportation in TRACECA network speeds up the communication between the Black Sea region and China. Now China can be reached in just 15 days and the Black Sea countries – within 55 hours. In 2013, 120.7 million tonnes of truck cargo and 48 million tonnes of rail freight was transported along the country’s roads. In the joint structure of freight, cargo carried on international routes accounted for 69.1%.