Rail/Sea Link Crossing Soviet Union Opened By Sea-Land Service

A rail and sea link crossing the Soviet Union that could cut up to two weeks off the time it takes to move ocean freight from northern Asia to Europe is being opened by Sea-Land Service Inc. of Edison, N.J.

A transit time of 23 days has been projected by Sea-Land executives in Rotterdam and Moscow. The link, typically called a landbridge, will also allow shippers moving cargo between Europe and the Far East to avoid the Persian Gulf.

The landbridge has been used by other companies, but delays inside the Soviet Union made it commercially unviable on a large scale.

However, Sea-Land claims to have overcome those difficulties.

Soviet block trains carrying the equivalent of 153 twenty-foot containers are scheduled to leave Vostochny and travel through Novosibirsk, Moscow and Minsk to a distribution center at Malaszewieze, Poland, where the containers will be transferred onto trucks and European railroads bound for major cities in the European community.

Cargo from Europe bound for Asia will be collected at Brest, on the Soviet side of the Polish border, and sent east to Vostochny.

Sea-Land, which already has bookings for its first trains, plans to run its own ships from Japan to Vostochny, where it will supervise ship-train transfers and expedite distribution with its own trucks and an agreement with the European railways' cargo system.

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