Lithuania’s transport minister has asked the government commission vetting strategic companies’ deals to evaluate the existing contract between Lithuanian Railways and the Belarusian fertilizer producer Belaruskali. The state-owned railway company continues to transport Belaruskali products even as US sanctions come into force.
Lithuanian Railways said that it had received pre-payment from Belaruskali and would continue transporting its products to Klaipeda port until January 2022.
The government commission will be asked to rule whether the contract meets Lithuania’s national security interests, the Transport and Communications Ministry says.
Minister Marius Skuodis says the transportation of Belarusian fertilizers through Lithuania is a national security concern, which is why the ministry decides to turn to the commission for an in-depth evaluation of further execution of this contract.
He also said he was surprised by the pre-payment arrangement, adding that it was atypical.
Two years ago, the commission, and later the Lithuanian government, considered a request by Biriu Kroviniu Terminalas (Bulk Cargo Terminal), a Klaipeda-based company owned by businessman Igor Udovickij and Belaruskali, to allow it expanding in the port of Klaipeda.
The final ruling was confidential, but BKT itself announced in October 2019 that the commission ruled against the company. The government later ordered the commission to work out conditions for the company’s investments, which, BKT claimed, were supposed to stand at around 70 million euros.
Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said on December 8 that Belaruskali product transit via Lithuania could not continue. (LRT/Business World Magazine)