The products of Belarusian potash producer Belaruskali will stop moving through Lithuania in December, Transport Minister Marius Skuodis said on Thursday.
The shipments will be affected by the United States' new sanctions on Belarus, targetting, among others, Belaruskali, one of the world's biggest producers of potash fertilisers, according to Skuodis.
Fertilisers subject to sanctions account for around a third of freight transported by Lithuanian Railways and the seaport of Klaipėda, he said.
“We can say that the sanctions concern US entities, but we know from practice that banks will not accept payments for services provided in Lithuania not only in dollars, but in euros too,” the minister told the radio Žinių Radijas.
“Companies refuse to do any business with an entity subject to sanctions in order to avoid risk, and I can say with confidence that, from December when the sanctions come into force, fertilisers will stop moving through Lithuania,” he said.
The minister believes that freight flows will decrease even before December, because many businesses want to prepare in advance and avoid any risks and inconveniences.
Around ten percent of Belarusian fertilisers transported through Lithuania go to EU markets, with the rest travelling to China, India, Brazil and other countries, Skuodis said, adding that the price of potash fertilisers will rise by 80 euros per ton once the sanctions take effect.
The minister noted, however, one must look at the situation from a broader perspective, not only in terms of losses.
“We are facing an emergency situation on the border that is managed, but causes a lot of difficulties for officials and for everyone,” he said, referring to the recent hike of irregular migration that Lithunaian officials say is orchestrated by the Belarusian government.
“[It’s bad] to trade with the regime that deceives people to send them across the Lithuanian border into the EU, but if we put these considerations aside, it is a fact that there will be an impact and we were projecting it,” he added.