Free port status proposed for Klaipeda

  • 1998-11-05
VILNIUS (BNS) - The Lithuanian Ministry of Transportation has drafted a new "free port" concept for the state seaport of Klaipeda, in which a part of the seaport's territory would be considered a free-trade zone.

If it becomes law, this would mean the period of storage of goods brought by sea or land to the port would not be limited by state normative acts, but would be the object of agreements by companies. In addition, in such free-trade zones, customs, excises and other taxes would be paid only when goods are removed from the zone. Upon being brought into the zone, goods would not need to be declared and submitted to customs to carry out formalities, and inventory could be carried out on the basis of transportation documents, with which the goods were brought into the free warehouses.

The borders of the free port zone would be enclosed. The zone's limits and the entry or exit of goods would be controlled by customs officials. Economic activities and the providing of services would also be permitted within the zone, but customs officials would have to be informed.

The ministry would like to anchor the free port concept in law. According to Transportation Minister Algis Zvaliauskas, a free-trade zone within the port would increase its attractiveness and increase the flow of freight.

Limitations in the storage of imported goods and fines are already too strict, the minister said. Goods brought to the port by sea can be stored for 45 days, while goods brought by land can be stored 20 days. The above deadlines can be extended to 90 days.

Free port regulations are already in effect in Latvia, Estonia, Denmark and Germany.

The Klaipeda state seaport occupies more than 10 hectares of land. About 7 kilometers of coastline are used for stevedoring purposes. Some 13 to16 million tons of freight are loaded annually, and after the embankments are deepened and the port reconstructed, it is hoped about 30 million tons can be handled.