Customs officials combat truck problem

  • 2006-11-22
  • From wire reports
RIGA - On Nov. 10, the Latvian, Lithuanian and Belarusian customs authorities inked a protocol which is intended to improve the rules for transit through Belarus. The protocol hopes to resolve the complicated nature of transit to Russia from the Baltic states, via Belarus. The hundreds of trucks at the border in Latvia are partially due to truckers trying to bypass Belarus.

The press service of the Latvian State Revenue Service said the heads of the customs authorities have committed to deal with complaints about the baseless detention of cargo and transport traveling through Belarus. Representatives of Belarus are said to have voiced a readiness to revise their existing transit provisions and make them less complicated.

According to the Latvian tax authorities, officials of the Belarus customs authority have urged truckers from Latvia and other neighbor countries to use existing customs clearance points for crossing the state border and transporting cargo through Belarus.
The representatives of the customs services also agreed that information on Belarus transit procedures must be available both to truckers and companies. To do this, the Belarus customs authority plans to post customs information on its official website.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the truckers' associations of all three countries. The representative of the Lithuanian truckers' association said that some of the neighbor country's truckers might use the existing Lithuanian and Belarus border crossing points to ease the situation at Latvian-Russian border crossing points where long queues of trucks are waiting to enter Russia.

The lines of transport vehicles started to build up at the Latvian-Russian border in mid-August. The resulting traffic congestion is threatening traffic safety and littering the roadside in the border area. Local residents have been annoyed with the constant noise and smell from truck engines.

Since August, there have been hundreds of freight trucks waiting on the EU/Russian border in Latvia. Here are the latest numbers as of Nov. 21:
Border Point Terehovo - 910, Grebnevo - 490