VILNIUS – Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LTG) is looking into possibilities for transporting goods via Poland after Minsk announced on Wednesday a ban on the transit of rail freight from Lithuania.
LTG Cargo, the freight subsidiary of the state-owned group, planned to ship up to 0.9 million tons of oil and oil products and around 0.5 million tons of fertilizers via Belarus this year.
"We are currently informing our customers to whom the transit of these cargoes through Belarus is relevant," LTG CEO Egidijus Lazauskas said in a press release on Wednesday. "We will be actively working with them to find solutions to the situation."
LTG Cargo has been developing alternative freight corridors through Poland for some time now. It is currently assessing the possibility of transporting freight via Poland to Ukraine, Turkey or other destinations further east.
According to LTG, it will be important to assess aspects such as the length and duration of the route, its organization in Poland, and the replacement of rolling stock due to the different rail gauges, as trains in Poland run on the European standard gauge track of 1435 millimeters.
The alternative corridor would allow trains from Ukraine to enter Poland through one of the two or three border crossings, and from Poland to Lithuania through the Trakiszki-Mockava border crossing.
LTG confirmed that it had been notified by the Council for Rail Transport of the CIS countries, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Bulgaria that Belarusian Railways were imposing a ban on the transit of rail freight from Lithuania as of February 7.