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Belarusian government to look into problems of trucking companies

Economy 19.10.2018 | 19:20

MINSK DISTRICT, 19 October (BelTA) – The Belarusian government will think about ways to resolve problems relating to the international freight transportation by road. The problems were raised as Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Rumas went to Minsk District on 19 October on a working trip, BelTA has learned.

Sergei Rumas visited the transportation companies SOOO ProLiv and OOO Jenty Spedition. Representatives of Belarusian trucking companies approached the prime minister to mention several problems they would like the government to resolve. In particular, permits for freight transportation in other countries were mentioned. For instance, Belarusian trucking companies now have 75,000 permits granted by Russia, however, the number is not sufficient. Belarusian trucking companies are also concerned about their drivers leaving Belarus for greener pastures in Baltic states and Poland. Since international drivers are in short supply in Germany, Polish and Baltic drivers easily find employment in Germany. Respectively Belarus' neighbors are interested in hiring Belarusian drivers as substitutes and enable the appropriate conditions for it.

Representatives of the Belarusian trucking companies also suggested extending the presidential decree on exempting Euro-6 compliant trucks from recycling fee onto 2019. The companies would also like the government to reduce the number of documents, which drivers need while on the road.

Sergei Rumas gave instructions to prepare and submit the relevant materials to the Council of Ministers, in particular, a comparative study of working conditions of Belarusian and Russian transportation companies. Salaries and accommodation allowance during business trips were mentioned. It was noted that the government is considering revising the regulations on travelling allowance and accommodation allowance during foreign trips. The two kinds of allowance may be combined into one and business travelers may be allowed to decide how to spend the money at their will.

In response to the request to reduce the number of documents drivers have to carry, Sergei Rumas noted that the legal framework for it had been created already. “The Entrepreneurship Development Ordinance is a unique document and allows us to do all of that. When everyone says they want some liberalization and simplification, I say we have not implemented all the opportunities the ordinance gives. The head of state has given us the opportunities while the ministries are still too busy going through the motions,” pointed out the head of government.

Summing up results of the discussion, Belarusian Transport and Communications Minister Anatoly Sivak noted that Belarusian freight transporters are rather competitive on foreign markets but the problems impeding the development of their business need to be addressed. “The existence of transportation permits and the relevant quotas is the main problem. The Transport and Communications Ministry exchanges permits with foreign partners through the year (46 countries this year). This year we have 730,000 permits of various kinds. There is a shortage of permits for transportation to some countries – not only Russia and Poland, but other ones, too,” explained Anatoly Sivak.

As for suggestions to increase the number of permits Russia gives to Belarusian truckers, the sides are now busy discussing the procedure for determining the necessary numbers. Anatoly Sivak said he hopes that an agreement will be reached before the Transport Week, which is due in Moscow in November. He reminded that the top quota of permits had been 120,000 and Belarus intends to recover this figure while the minimum stands at 65,000. Anatoly Sivak noted that members of the Eurasian Economic Union have agreed to scrap transportation permits altogether by 2025.

The distribution of quotas among trucking companies was mentioned as another issue. No decisions have been made on whether the current distribution scheme should be changed or not. On the one hand, it is necessary to get maximum profits from transportation and large trucking companies can more easily accomplish this task. On the other hand, small companies need to be able to grow larger, too.

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