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05 January 2023, 17:30

Diversification of Belarusian freight shipments via sea ports explained

MINSK, 5 January (BelTA) – As many as 19 Russian ports are used for shipping Belarusian cargoes, BelTA learned from Belarusian Transport and Communications Minister Aleksei Avramenko.

According to Aleksei Avramenko, in 2022 Belarus and Russia signed two basic agreements on transshipping oil products and foreign trade cargoes. Those are primarily potash fertilizers, nitrogen fertilizers, metallurgy products, and woodworking goods.

The official continued: “Volumes for the year 2023 have been specified. The ports to be used have been determined. The key task is to increase volumes and look at quality, the price of end shipment of either potash fertilizers or oil products. But there are no organizational problems on the Russian territory now.”

But how will Belarus compensate for the additional costs? Because it was much closer and respectively cheaper to move Belarusian cargoes to Klaipeda than, for instance, to St Petersburg for the sake of further shipment via a local port.

Aleksei Avramenko said: “If we talk about the agreement concerning oil products, we've negated this difference because Russian Railways offered us a 50% discount. It is a comparable price now. If we talk about other cargoes, we are working on getting a discount on railway tariffs (and the president set a task in that regard) in order to be competitive with the ports we used to use.”

It has been reported that Belarus intends to build a sea port of its own in Russia. “Running it primarily as a state-owned port is the idea. Respectively we will have to control the arrival of vessels and the allocation of berths so that we could transport Belarusian export cargoes and develop infrastructure by bringing in imports. In other words, it is a complex matter that requires further detailed examination from the point of view of the project's economics. Because building a port is quite a costly proposition,” Aleksei Avramenko remarked.

The Belarusian side intends to build the port using its own resources and loans. “A number of Russian banks are ready to lend money for it. Securing the final effectiveness from the realization of this project is the idea. In any case it is quite a massive project for the country. It requires a closer examination,” the transport and communications minister stressed.

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