A former prime minister thinks this is the reason for possible redirecting cargo traffic through Russian sea ports.
“Sea ports of the Baltic states are the cheapest way for Belarus to ship goods. It will be more expensive to do it through Saint Petersburg. The Belarusian proposal sounds like 'if you offer a considerable discount on [export] duties so that Belarus cannot lose anything, the cargo routes will go through St Petersburg'. I think it won't happen. It's a longer route to Russian ports,” former Belarusian prime minister Mikhail Chyhir told charter97.org.
The expert thinks the Baltic states may offer a discount in order not to lose the traffic of goods:
“Belarus mulls how to redirect shipments through St Petersburg, but the Baltic countries should think about the problem. It's very unprofitable for them. It's their big problem. They will possible offer a discount on cargo traffic via their territories.”
Mikhail Chyhir thinks it's unlikely that Belarus will export goods through Russian ports:
“In any case, shipments via the Baltic countries costs far less. If the export is redirected to St Petersburg, it will not mean imposing Russia's control. Belkali will export potash as before. They will load it and carry through Russia.”
“They are just looking for a more profitable offer,” the former PM concluded.
It should be reminded that Lukashenka recently announced Belarus was ready to redirect main cargo routes to sea ports of Lenindgrad Oblast (Russia). He said the re-orientation of Belarusian cargo flows would allow to diversify political and economic risks.
Uladzimir Syamashka, the Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus, said commenting on this statement that the re-orientation was possible if Russia offered a “comprehensive approach”.