Baltic States – CIS, Belarus, Lithuania, Oil

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 22.04.2021, 19:23

Lithuanian Railways keeps mum on new contract with Belarus' BNK

BC, Vilnius, 18.12.2020.Print version
Following this week's announcement by Belarus' Belorusskaya Neftyanaya Kompaniya (Belarusian Oil Company, BNK) that it is suspending a part of its exports via Klaipeda, it is unclear if Minsk has started carrying out its threat to divert cargoes to other ports, or it is only a temporary decision, writes LETA/BNS.

It is not clear either how BNK's move might affect the business of Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LTG), the state railway operator that transports Belarusian oil products.


The railway company would not say if it will sign a new agreement with BNK after the current three-year contract expires in late December.  


LTG spokesman Mantas Dubauskas declined to comment when asked by LETA/BNS whether the company was in talks with BNK on a new contract, saying it is a trade secret. 


He said only that BNK oil and oil products accounted for about 3.7% of the railway company's total freight portfolio this year. 


The Belarusian company could not be reached by LETA/BNS for comment.

  

Transport Minister Marius Skuodis said the ministry, LTG's shareholder, had instructed the railway company to diversify its sources of revenue.


"We have estimates of what a discontinuation of oil product shipments would mean both for the railway operator and for the sector as a whole. Yes, this means losses," he told. "So, it is natural for the railway company to aim for the broadest possible diversification of its revenue sources both in terms of countries and products." 

The minister said that both sides benefited from Belarusian oil product shipments via Klaipeda, noting that the Belarusian economy "is the first to suffer" as a result of "decisions based on political logic".


BNK's UK subsidiary said earlier this week that it was suspending exports through Klaipedos Nafta's terminal under new contracts with customers. Products sold under earlier contracts will continue to be handled in the Lithuanian seaport. 


Belarus' authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko has repeatedly threatened Lithuania with sanctions and has said that Minsk will stop using the port of Klaipeda for its exports, mostly potassium fertilizers and oil products.






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