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10 April 2023, 12:43

Murmansk Oblast governor outlines cooperation prospects with Belarus

MINSK, 10 April (BelTA) – Belarusian products will go abroad via the ports of Murmansk Oblast, and the annual turnover through these sea channels is planned to make up 5-7 million tonnes, Governor of Murmansk Oblast of Russia Andrei Chibis said in an interview to STV Channel, BelTA has learned.

The head of Murmansk Oblast said that following the agreements with the president of Belarus a group of experts visited the Russian region and explored several sites. “The work is in progress. We are waiting for another visit of the Belarusian government officials in April-May 2023 to decide on the site to build this terminal. Therefore, everything is in full swing. The cargo turnover is planned to make up 5-7 million tonnes per year. Primarily, these will be Belarusian fertilizers. We have unrestricted access to the world ocean. This guarantees, let us say, freedom and sovereignty of the delivery of the cargo we have,” Andrei Chibis said.

The governor also noted that any route is open from Murmansk. “It is east, of course. It is, of course, the Northern Sea Route, which has been actively developing. The icebreaker fleet, which is also based in Murmansk, provides piloting even in difficult ice conditions. It is clear that there is also movement to the west. Therefore, it is obvious that the port of Murmansk, which operates year round, which does not freeze up, is one of the key ports in the Russian Federation which is open to any export cargo from our partners, from our brotherly country. We will be glad to cooperate. It will definitely be a mutually beneficial cooperation and on different platforms. This is already happening, and Russia and Murmansk Oblast benefit from it. And, of course, the Republic of Belarus – in the possibility to ship its cargoes,” he stressed.

According to Andrei Chibis, the prospects for cooperation between Belarus and the Russian northern region are broad. “Trade has increased sevenfold over the year. We actively supply apatite concentrate for fertilizer production and fish products. By the way, last year we launched supplies of sea urchin for the first time (now these supplies are regular). Sea delicacies from the Barents Sea, from Murmansk Oblast for Belarus is part of our job. Belarus supplies Murmansk Oblast with its mining equipment. Some 300 BelAZ haul trucks are in operation here, and ten more will be coming this year. A BelAZ service center is soon to open in Murmansk Oblast. As we agreed during the visit, this is utilities machinery and public transport. Nine vehicles of public transport are already working on our roads, and 12 utilities vehicles are clearing our cities and towns. This year we plan to import 15 more public transport vehicles and a certain number of utilities vehicles. The cooperation is intensive,” the governor of Murmansk Oblast underlined.

Quotas for fishing in the Barents Sea were increased to 4,500 tonnes for Belarus. The menu of the Belarusians may expand the range of seafood dishes. Andrei Chibis said what delicacies would be supplied to the retail network of Belarus. “First of all it is cod. We have very high-quality, good, tasty cod. We export a lot of cod liver to Belarus, which has been everyone's favorite since the Soviet Union. It is also useful and of very high quality. So cod is about 3.2 tonnes. The rest is haddock, also a very tasty fish. So, these quotas are for the catch and delivery to Belarus,” the governor said.

The head of Murmansk Oblast also noted the prospects for cooperation in the fish processing industry. “I think there are prospects in aquaculture. We are actively developing it now: over the last few years aquaculture has grown more than eight times. Salmon production is in full swing in the Barents Sea. I think that there may be modern cooperation here as well, because we are interested in fodder. We also have well-developed processing industry, probably one of the best processing enterprises operates in Murmansk, it is one of the top processing factories in the whole of Europe. Our fishermen are investing money in it. The issue of joint work on aquaculture is also a prospect,” Andrei Chibis said.

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