Belarus hampers Russian transit cargo

The State Customs Committee for Belarus has stopped accepting the Russian transit guarantees for the transit of goods through the Belarusian territory, reports the Russian business daily Kommersant. Instead, Belarus is introducing a mandatory customs convoy for up to 90 percent of the Russian cargo, shipped in transit through our territory.

The measure has been formally introduced in respond to the January 8 incident, when two vehicles – a van and a motorbike – failed to reach Russia and got lost somewhere in Belarus. The Russian side refused from covering the Belarus budget losses. The Russian transit certificates, effective from December 2003, used to ensure the payment of the customs duties.

Now the Belarus customs uses the third-party guarantees and accepts payments to the customs’ bank account in the amount of 500 euros for physical entities for the transit of vehicles. The payment is refunded when the vehicle reaches its destination.

Belarus has offered a choice: payment can be waived if the carrier agrees to a convoy by either the customs or a special unit from the Interior’s Department of Guards.

But, the convoy charges vary from $250 to $400 depending on the route. The customs convoy can service only about two dozens of vehicles, an insignificant part of the cargo transit. The measure has provoked long lines at the Belarus-Russian border, according to Nasha Niva newspaper.