On 10 April 2008 in Minsk there was a management meeting of Latvian and Belarusian railway companies to consider the cooperation and to agree on common projects for years 2008-2009.
One of the most topical issues was modernization of infrastructure on the border Bigosova – Indra. To increase cargo throughput for export and transit transportations on Belarus – Latvia border, there was made a decision to construct the second rail track in this district. The experts from Belarusian Railway informed that technical and economic justification of the second rail track construction in district Polocka – Bigosova – State border is being elaborated; funding for the construction objects will be included in the budget of 2008. In their turn the representatives from SJSC Latvijas dzelzceļš confirmed that it is planned to finish construction of the second rail track in district Indra – Bigosova by 1 November 2009.
During the meeting the participants discussed cargo transportation reports of 2007 and potential increase of cargo amounts in 2008. Last year from Belarus to Latvia there were transported 12.98 million tons of export cargos. The largest amounts of export cargos were dominated by oil and oil products – 9.5 million tons (97.1% from total amount of 2006), chemicals and mineral fertilizers – 2.58 million tons (83.8%), timber products – 0.35 million tons (114.2%).
Belarusian Railway has carried 17.2 million tons of cargos in transit from and to the ports of Latvia, which has increased by 7.0% compared to 2006. The dominant products of transit cargos are coal, oil and oil products, and ferrous metals. The amount of cargos increases, and participants of the meeting approved that this positive tendency has to be retained. One of the measures to optimize cargo transportation is agreement on the establishment of common working group to improve the submission procedure of customs documents; the aim is to submit customs documents two hours prior to border crossing of Latvia.
In accordance with the agreement of SJSC Latvijas dzelzceļš and Belarusian Railway cargo train traffic in district Polocka – Bigosova – Indra – Daugavpils is provided with the locomotives from Belarusian Railway, which are maintained by their locomotive crews. The participants of the meeting stated that wagon reception and forwarding in stations Polocka and Daugavpils have occurred according to the approved schedule.
There were also discussions about passenger transportation from Minsk to Riga and vice versa. An optimistic fact was announced that since Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have joined the Schengen zone the citizens of the Republic of Belarus and CIS countries can freely travel to the Baltic region states if they have an open Schengen visa.
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