VILNIUS – Lithuania's initiative to help Ukraine ship grain through Klaipeda and other Baltic ports will not solve the problem because Lithuania does not have sufficient infrastructure, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius has said.
"Lithuania's position and proposal are very much appreciated as well-intentioned, but the reality is somewhat different. First of all, there is not enough infrastructure to transport these quantities of grain and the only way to do it is through the Black Sea. Everything else is fine, but not enough, plus it is time-consuming because of the different [railway] gauge," he told reporters in Vilnius on Monday after a meeting with President Gitanas Nauseda.
In the absence of alternative infrastructure, the road through Lithuania would not be sufficient, he said adding that it would also be inconvenient for business.
“Let's add one last component – commerce. Grain, its shipment, is also important for the business component, so that it reaches the necessary ports and buyers as quickly as possible, and here, too, transport via Lithuania becomes more difficult, as the cost of shipment also increases," the EU commissioner said.
“Lithuania's proposal is very important in this case, it may help to some extent, but unfortunately it cannot solve the problem," he added.
Lithuania is proposing a route through the Baltic countries that would facilitate the transport and export of Ukrainian grain as customs formalities, phytosanitary checks and other procedures could be moved from the Ukraine-Poland border to EU ports such as Klaipeda.