MINSK, 26 January (BelTA) – Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Belarus Vladimir Orlovsky talked to reporters on 26 January and explained reasons behind vehicle queues at the border with Lithuania and Poland, BelTA has learned.
According to the source, Belarus has signed agreements with the relevant authorities of Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Latvia. The agreements specify how many vehicles every border crossing is supposed to process. “The clearance process is always more complicated for incoming vehicles, control is tighter, so the queue depends on how the neighboring side processes automobiles. For the last 2-3 years we've been regularly having queues in the Lithuanian direction because the colleagues do not always meet the norms set by the bilateral agreements,” the official said. “If the norms were met, I think there would be no such queues for sure.”
Apart from that, since 2021 the Lithuanian side has been reconstructing the largest border crossing at the border with Belarus – Medininkai. The reconstruction has halved the throughput capacity.
As for the Polish direction, the border situation is complicated by the closure of the border crossing Kuznica Bialostocka (Bruzgi on the Belarusian side). “The closure was unexpected, shipping companies were unprepared for it. It happened at the end of the year when the freight traffic is largest since importers and exporters try to finish the fulfillment of their contracts. So, the situation was very tense. Things became a bit easier at the beginning of the year but there are still queues,” the head of the Belarusian customs service said.
“We meet our norm regarding incoming vehicles and we try to do more than that. Apart from that, a number of negotiations have been held at an appropriate level both with the leadership of the customs services of Poland and Lithuania and via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We suggested opening at least one of the three closed border crossings on the Polish border and reducing the workload. Regretfully, our colleagues do not hear us citing either COVID-19 or migrants or some other issues,” Vladimir Orlovsky stated.
The official pointed out that freight traffic going via Belarus is on the rise despite the closure of border crossings.