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Monday 21.08.2017 | Name days: Linda, Janīna
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Coal transit companies overpay 27 million lats a year

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU, Ēriks Šmauksts

Ēriks Šmauksts

Latvian coal transit companies overpay 50 million US dollars a year (27 million lats) just because transit from Russia has been directed to a roundabout way through Belarus, says Latvian Railway representative Ēriks Šmuksts.

He reveals no improvements are expected, as Russia has linked coal cargo capacity rise from Russia with the new passenger express train project implementation, which is to be carried out in three to five years. The Port Council has decided to forward reviewing of the issue to the Transport Group of the Intergovernmental Russian-Latvian commission.

Smuksts explains coal transport is operated though Belarus for five years already. During the recent years Russia has not carried out a single project promoting Moscow-Latvia transport corridor. There are no problems in transporting through Belarus in terms of amounts. The problem is it is very expensive. To promote coal export from Russia, they have set specific rates – 14.5 US dollars (7.8 lats) per ton in both directions – up to Estonian, Latvian and Belorussian borders. Consequently, clients engaged in coal transit must pay additional 2.5-3 US dollars (1.6 lats) per ton for transit through Belarus.

Given that 14-15 tons are exported yearly, coal transit companies overpay 50 million US dollars every year, he explains.

Development of Moscow-Latvia transport corridor is the only solution. This issue was discussed during the President of Latvia official visit to Moscow, while, Russia in turn offered a passenger express train.

It is a good suggestion, because if we develop passenger transportation, we can simultaneously increase cargo capacity as well. The new project can only be carried out in three to five years time, so the coal transit problem is here to stay for some time. The situation is grave and we expect no improvements in 2011, Smauksts stresses.

The Minister of Transport agrees the overpay is not the best solution, however it is positive news that Russia is ready to collaborate and solve the issue. Hopefully, it will be like that.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs press secretary proposes solving the issue in the Transport Group of the Intergovernmental Russian-Latvian commission, because they have already managed to solve crossing border points capacity issues.

Smuksts adds Russia has mentioned revoking the coal transit rates, however it is still difficult to judge, when the situation will change.

14 million tons of coal was transported at Latvian ports last year, while 18 million – in 2009.


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  1. Lily says:

    Unfortunately, people can never tell Russia what to do.

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