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10 Jul 2019

Belarus eager to ship more freight via Latvian ports

Belarus eager to ship more freight via Latvian ports

MINSK, 10 July (BelTA) – Belarus intends to increase the shipment of cargoes via Latvian ports. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Latvia Vasily Markovich made the relevant statement in an interview with the Free City magazine, BelTA has learned.

The diplomat noted: “Belarus will commission two new potash mines in 1.5 years. We are talking about 2 million tonnes of potassium! Where will it go? We have to start working on it right now.”

In his words, Lithuanian ports will not be able to handle the amount of freight this large since their capacity is limited. “But you have this capacity. We should explore the possibilities,” the ambassador stressed. “We’ve increased the export of timber: boards, logs, even chipped wood. A large delegation led by the first deputy forestry minister of Belarus visited Latvia in January. An agreement was reached with Lithuanian Railways on two permanently shuttling trains for the sake of delivering this timber to the ports.”

Vasily Markovich remarked that while choosing the ports to ship cargoes, the Belarusian side also bears in mind tariffs. “Specialists are now reconciling, making decisions on what the tariffs will be because our interest depends on this factor among other things. If we compare Lithuanian ports and Latvian ones, the former are certainly closer to us in terms of territory. But the logistic advantages Lithuanian partners talk about are not so obvious: if we take into account all the factors, terms of the Latvian side may be very attractive,” he remarked.

In 2018 Belarus’ export to Latvia rose by 40%. “We export 510 product titles starting with needles and ending with machines and tractors. In 2018 trade turnover was $582 million. It is a large figure for our countries,” the diplomat pointed out.

The potential of Belarus-Latvia trade and economic cooperation will grow higher since both countries have enterprises, which are interested in cooperation. “A short while ago, for instance, we visited a company in Jelgava. It builds cutting-edge treatment plants using a certain grade of steel impervious to rust. It could certainly find partners in Belarus,” the ambassador mentioned as an example.

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