Belarus migrant crisis driving up transportation costs, disrupting goods supplies to Russia

WION Web Team
Moscow, Russia Published: Dec 03, 2021, 03:13 PM(IST)

Belarus has closed several border crossings with Poland for cargo transport as the European Union accuses Minsk of pushing migrants, mostly from the Middle East, to illegally cross their borders. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

There are typically 400-600 trucks at the crossings into Belarus from Poland at any given time, which causes normal waiting times of 12-24 hours to average 2-4 days

Migrants on the Belarus-Poland border have caused logistic problems for Russian food producers, who are suffering losses and may have to temporarily cease production if the situation worsens.

Belarus has closed several border crossings with Poland for cargo transport as the European Union accuses Minsk of pushing migrants, mostly from the Middle East, to illegally cross their borders.

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There are long queues of trucks at the four functioning Poland-Belarus border crossings out of the total six. According to Belarus' border service, Lithuania's six crossings are open.

Food producers use the trucks to transport goods and raw materials to Belarus and Russia.

There are typically 400-600 trucks at the crossings into Belarus from Poland at any given time, which causes normal waiting times of 12-24 hours to average 2-4 days.

Every day spent waiting costs 500 euros, which has pushed up transportation costs. An alternative crossing route costs between 300 and 400 euros, sources said.

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Another source on the market said that Russian importers have not yet suffered large losses, as last week's losses had been getting worse, but this week they are slightly better.

"If the situation gets worse, it threatens to break the supply chain and factories will grind to a standstill," the source said.

Traffic congestion in the opposite direction has already worsened.

On November 18, a group of companies including Mars, Pepsi, Danone, Nestle, CocaCola, Metro, and TetraPak appealed to the Russian government to intervene.

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"The continuation of the current situation could have a significant impact on supply chains and the availability of goods for the public, including essential goods, especially given the increased cargo volumes and heightened demand in the run-up to the New Year holidays," the group, the Foreign Investment Advisory Council, wrote.

According to the letter, about 10 of all Russian imports pass through Belarus and Poland.

The office of Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov, to whom the letter was addressed, said it would investigate the situation. The Ministry of Transport declined to comment.

Data from the Belarusian border service shows similar delays on the Belarusian side of the border with the European Union. According to the data, 400 to 700 vehicles wait at the border at any given time.

(With inputs from agencies)

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