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Lithuania seeks alternatives to Belarus' freight

Staff Writer | April 5, 2017
An ongoing dispute between Minsk and Moscow over Russian natural gas and oil supply terms has affected revenues of Lithuania's oil product terminal operator Klaipedos Nafta (Klaipeda Oil) and Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai.
Port of Klaipeda
Energy transport   Minsk-Moscow oil dispute
Belarusian crude refineries' exports via the port of Klaipeda have almost stopped.

half a year now. Amid a shortage of crude due to a cut in Russian oil deliveries, Belarus' refineries sell almost all fuel they produce in the domestic market.

As a result of this, Klaipedos Nafta posted a 23% y-o-y drop in oil product loadings for the first two months of this year and Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai saw oil product shipments slump down by 63% to 304,700 tons.

However, Lithuanian Transport Minister Rokas Masiulis expects that Moscow and Minsk will reach an agreement, noting that the state railway operator, meanwhile, is increasing the transportation of other products.

"This is a common situation. We hope that the countries will agree, sooner or later. In the meantime, the volume of other freights, such as fertilizers, is growing," he told.

Egidijus Lazauskas, director of the Freight Transportation Directorate at Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai, says that freight traffic from Belarus has come to almost a complete halt and that the company is looking for alternative freights to at least partially compensate for the loss.

"The situation has already affected railway shipments. The flow has fallen sharply. It can't get worse," Lazauskas told.