Russia grants Belarus 40% rail freight discount
Russia is granting Belarus a discount of up to 40 per cent on rail freight transportation, according to the Belarusian ministry of transport. The two allies have agreed on a discount that applies to the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) routes in Russia, as well as routes leading to the port of Saint Petersburg. The discount is a boost to the competitiveness of Belarus. Russia’s steadfast ally is dependent on Russian rail infrastructure to secure export routes.
The vast majority of Belarusian rail exports go in the direction of Russia. In 2023, 83 per cent of its total volume went to Russia, an increase of 1,5 times from 2022. Russian ports shipped approximately half of those exports to further destinations. According to the Belarusian ministry of transport, the total volume of Belarusian rail exports grew by 15,4 per cent in 2023.
Belarus’ competitiveness is now getting a boost. It has come to an agreement with its close ally Russia on major discounts of up to 40 per cent on transporting freight on the Russian rail network. The discounts apply to Russia’s parts of the INSTC route. Additional routes in the direction of the port of Saint-Petersburg, a major hub for further transportation of Belarusian goods, will also be eligible for discounts.
The discounts will aid Belarus in mitigating the negative effects of Western sanctions. According to the ministry of transport of Belarus, ‘external factors continued to exert a negative influence on the work of the transport complex’. Subsequently, the growth in export volumes to Russia signals an attempt to redirect exports. Through Russian ports, Belarus seeks to reach other destinations. It has notably increased its export volumes to Brazil (4,9 times), Pakistan (4,2 times) and Turkmenistan (3,6 times).