MINSK, 8 September (BelTA) – Belarus will redirect part of its exports to the ports of Murmansk Oblast, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Governor of Russia's Murmansk Oblast Andrei Chibis, BelTA has learned.
Welcoming the Russian delegation, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that so far the president of Belarus had been to Murmansk more often than the governors of Murmansk Oblast to Belarus. “However, you, fortunately, have discontinued this trend. You, the people from Murmansk Oblast, are always welcome in Belarus,” the head of state stressed.
The trade between Belarus and Murmansk Oblast exceeds $100 million per year. According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, this is a good result, but the parties can do much better.
In H1 2022, the trade grew by almost 23%, primarily on the back of supplies from Murmansk Oblast: imports increased by 35%, while Belarusian exports dropped by 20%. “We can rectify the imbalance, we have everything in place to do it,” the head of state stressed.
“Under the current conditions, it is strategically important for us to redirect part of Belarusian exports, primarily potash fertilizers, to your ports. And not only potash fertilizers. You know, we have been closely studying this issue. I have been informed on all aspects of this matter, and we have decided that we will cooperate with Murmansk Oblast despite the fact that we are already operating in the St. Petersburg area,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to the head of state, the cooperation in logistics between Belarus and Murmansk Oblast is also supported by the Russian president: “He asked me whether I want to operate in Murmansk Oblast too. And I replied ‘absolutely'. I said that it is not a good idea to put all eggs in one basket. He said that they are very interested in this and support it.”
The necessary agreements have already been reached, but there are still some pending issues. This pertains, among other things, to the cost of delivery of goods by rail.
“I know that this matter is a responsibility of a federal government, but nonetheless. If you get involved, we will resolve this issue faster. Fundamental decisions have been made. We will work on this. The northern direction will significantly boost our cooperation in logistics taking into account St. Petersburg. And I still believe that someday the northern route [Northern Sea Route] will be actively used to supply goods through the Arctic Ocean to the Asian part of our planet. It will be a game changer. If our cooperation proceeds well, we can send millions of tonnes more to keep this route busy,” the president noted.