Russia opens more opportunities for transit shipments of EU sanctioned goods

2021/07/08 at 11:27 AM

For the third consecutive year, Russia has been gradually lifting its sanctions on the EU goods running to and from the third countries. This time the government allowed the transit shipments of the mentioned freight via three country’s ports. Moreover, several new land border crossings were also opened for this traffic.

Two years ago, in July 2019, Russia lifted some restrictions on the EU sanctioned goods, particularly for transit shipments of several types of food products by road and rail. Last week the government of Russia extended the list of transport modes available for the mentioned category of freight. According to the implemented amendments, the border crossings at three ports such as Vostochny, Vladivostok, Saint Petersburg were allowed to handle the transit containers with the EU sanctioned goods. All the mentioned harbours are vital for the development of multimodal services between Japan/South Korea and Europe.

Containers in Port of Vladivostok, source: FESCO

The inclusion of the three ports into the list of railway crossings open for transit shipments of the EU sanctioned goods was mainly initiated by two Russian umbrella organisations in early 2020: the Association of Commercial Sea Ports and the Association of Refrigerated Rolling Stock Operators.

Other improvements

The law amendments also extended the list of road and rail border crossings. For road transport, there were added one stationary and one mobile point. The first crossing is placed in Nizhny Zaramag near the border with the Republic of South Ossetia, a semi-autonomous part of Georgia recognised by Russia as an independent state. Meanwhile, the second point is a mobile installation that is located in Vyazma near the Belarusian border. Due to this extension, the number of control points between Russia and Belarus, which are able to process transit shipments of the EU sanctioned goods increased to four. At the same time, the number of mobile points for road transport at the Kazakhstan border was reduced from four to three by removing Vesyoloyarsk from the list.

Sealing containers is obligatory to transport the EU sanctioned goods via Russia, source: Centre for the development of digital platforms (CRCP)

As for rail border crossings, there were added three locations: one close to Ukraine (Valuyki), one close to Azerbaijan (Derbent) and one close to Mongolia (Naushki). If the border with Ukraine got the second point, those with Azerbaijan and Mongolia are the first dedicated to the transit traffic of the EU sanctioned goods. Earlier, containers from Europe to the two countries could be delivered only by road. In general, the number of border crossings open for transit shipments of the EU sanctioned products increased from 30 to 37.

Obligatory sealing

It is worth reminding that transit shipments of the EU sanctioned goods via Russia require the use of special GLONASS-equipped seals. First of all, shippers, forwarders or other parties concerned must register themselves on the website of the Centre for the development of digital platforms (abbreviated in Russian as CRCP) or do it directly at the authorised border crossings. After registration, an agreement on sealing freight and the provision of other related services must be signed.

To be more precise, the installation and removal of an electronic seal, as well as its use are different services. As for the seal itself, it costs around 30,000 rubles (around 340 euros). It can be rented for 960 rubles per day (almost 11 euros). These services must be paid for in advance. Installation and removal of electronic seals are carried out exclusively by employees of the Centre.

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