Russian steel embargo hurts Lithuania

  • 1999-03-04
VILNIUS (BNS) - Lithuania's stevedoring company KLASCO said Russian plans to halt for six months steel shipments to the United States might further reduce the flow of cargo via the Klaipeda-based company.

KLASCO handled 390,000 tons of freight in January, which is a more than 30 percent decrease compared to last year.

KLASCO Economic Director Algirdas Kateiva said the company anticipated a similar turnover in February, but Russia's expected cut in steel shipments might worsen the situation.

"This is unpleasant information for us. We expected metal exports to pick up and we are ready for that: We have built new warehouses and cranes and deepened the wharves," Kateiva said.

On the other hand, the United States set a million-ton quota on Russian metal imports last year, while 3 million tons of metals were shipped to America via KLASCO alone, he added.

Kateiva admitted, however, that the flow of metals through Klaipeda slowed down this year, with the bulk of exports going to European countries.

Russia and the United States signed a tentative agreement to stop all steel shipments for six months and later to cut exports by 70 percent in Rome this week.