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22 April 2024, 12:23

Lukashenko: Belarus, Arkhangelsk Oblast could cooperate in cargo transshipment

An archive photo
An archive photo
MINSK, 22 April (BelTA) – Belarus and  Russia’s Arkhangelsk Oblast could join forces in cargo transshipment, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Arkhangelsk Oblast Governor Alexander Tsybulsky on 22 April, BelTA has learned.

One of the promising areas of cooperation that was named by the president during the meeting was the modernization of industrial enterprises specializing primarily in timber processing, shipbuilding, and ship repairs. “Today, fortunately, Belarusian producers of modern machines and equipment have orders till the end of this year. But we have reserves,” the head of state remarked.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the construction of ice-strengthened vessels is also worth considering. The Russians need them in the face of a significant uptick in transportation along the Northern Sea Route. The country needs at least 90 vessels, although no more than 30 are being produced.

The president emphasized that Belarus is very interested in developing the Northern Sea Route, along which tens of millions of tonnes of cargo can be shipped. This route has become even more relevant after the introduction of sanctions by Western countries and the closure of their ports for domestic cargo. “We have tried to supply small quantities of our goods via this route to the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Far East. Using this route makes economic sense to us. Therefore, we are genuinely interested in working with Arkhangelsk Oblast,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. A possible option is to ship directly to the ports of Arkhangelsk Oblast, bypassing the ports of St. Petersburg and Murmansk. “I think that we will make a decision on that in the near future,” the president added.

Belarus and Arkhangelsk Oblast could also cooperate in logistics and transport. “Belarus’ strategic task is to find new ways to ship its export cargo,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.

The Arkhangelsk port infrastructure specializes in containers and general cargo. Thus, it is not fit to transship Belarus’ key export cargo - potash fertilizers, the volume of which will be about 15 million tonnes in the near future. But this port may be of interest to Belarusian producers of timber and metal products. “Yet, the competition in this matter is intense, including in the north-west. The cost of transportation is the primary consideration. Therefore, we are ready to work together,” the president said.

Arkhangelsk is traditionally one of the bases for shipping cargo along the Northern route. This region is a hub for transshipment of goods, in particular construction materials for large mining facilities in the Arctic zone. In addition, the Arkhangelsk transport hub will be expanded in the near future to be used more actively as part of the Northern Sea Route.

“Here we could also be useful to each other,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko.

According to the president, Belarus and the Russian region should also consider cooperation in housing construction. Now Arkhangelsk Oblast is addressing an important social task: relocating people from dilapidated housing. Construction is going ahead of schedule by a year, although the amount of work is enormous. “I think that we could also consider the supply of construction materials and some form of assistance to builders,” the head of state believes.

According to the president, another promising area of cooperation is the development of peat deposits with the subsequent production of high-tech products, such as plant growth regulators, active feed additives, materials for agriculture, livestock, and oil production. Belarus produces all the necessary equipment for the extraction and deep processing of peat.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that this is an incomplete list of areas for partnership. “I suggest discussing not individual projects, but jumping right away on an action plan, as they say, a road map, and using a package approach in each area. In a year or two, we can take stock of the work done,” said the head of state.
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