Lithuania is going to put transit of Belaruskali’s potash fertilizers to complete halt in December, when US sanctions come into force, Lithuanian Transport Minister Marius Skuodis told the news portal 15min.lt.
These products account for a third of the cargoes that are transported by rail and via the port of Klaipeda. Only 10% of Belarusian fertilizers go to the European Union; the rest is sold to China, India, Brazil and other countries. If the Lithuanian railway continues to carry fertilizers, it may face negative consequences.
“On the one hand, we can say that the [US] sanctions is only US companies’ concern, but the evidence from practice shows that banks will not accept payments for services provided in Lithuania in euros, not only in dollars. If there is a sanctioned entity, [other] companies refuse to have any business relationship with it in order to manage the risks,” the minister explained.
According to Skuodis, it is not ruled out that shipping operations will be reduced even in the coming months, since many firms are reluctant to deal with a company slapped with the US sanctions. Notably, the withdrawal from doing business with Belaruskali is expected to result in Lithuania’s suffering significant financial losses. As the potential negative profit is estimated at 20 mln euros, the country’s railway may need help from the government.
Commenting on the would-be drastic change, Minister Skuodis put in down, among other factors, to the current migrant crisis at the EU-Belarus border; Lithuania blames the Lukashenka regime for fostering illegal migration.
At the present time, the restrictions do not apply to all potash cargoes from Belarus. The sectoral sanctions that were imposed on the Lukashenka regime in June have affected only about 20% of the transit.