Lithuania’s truckers lobby against further damaging relations with Russia

  • 2015-12-02
  • By BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Linava, the Lithuanian national road carriers’ association, has warned against exacerbating political relations with Russia.
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday sent a note to the Russian Foreign Ministry over a levy imposed on heavy trucks for using the country’s roads.

However, Erlandas Mikenas, Linava president, points out that the levy applies to trucks from all countries, which means that the competitive position of the Lithuanian haulers remains unchanged.
“As far as my personal opinion is concerned, I wouldn’t exacerbate the situation, which is already tense. We were notified about the levy … in September and we were calm about that since each country has the right to decide on its road charges,” Mikenas told BNS.

He noted, however, that such issues were addressed on a political level by the Foreign Ministry in tandem with the Transport Ministry.
“If that was their decision, then it’s probably necessary,” Mikenas said.
“The new levy applies not just to Lithuania but also to the whole of Europe, CIS and even to the Russian haulers. There’s no discrimination … We both — both Russia and Lithuania — had advantageous terms. Now these terms are no longer in place,” Mikenas said.

Queues at the border, which had built up immediately after the launch of the new system, had already vanished, he added.
The note sent by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said that the new levy, which took effect on Nov. 15, was not in line with an agreement on transport cooperation signed between Lithuania and Russia in 1992 and a bilateral agreement on international road transport signed in 1993. These agreements provide that truckers from either country do not pay for the use of roads in the other country.