LTG Cargo rejects hundreds of transport requests to block Belarusian cargo
During March, LTG Cargo rejected 506 rail transport applications. Most of them (258) came from neighbouring Belarus and involved, among others, state-controlled companies which attempted to forward their cargo via Lithuania’s rail network and ports.
The sanction circumvention attempts in Lithuania seem to have no end. The company applies a stringent policy regarding giving access to products on its rail network. One could say that this policy corresponds to a “better safe than sorry” approach since LTG declines all services looking suspicious or having unclear information regarding their compliance with international sanctions.
As a result, not all declined transport requests correspond to sanction circumvention attempts. Nevertheless, there are some cases, especially regarding import/export services from Belarus, that LTG indeed cannot undertake since sanctioned state-controlled Belarusian companies organise them.
Oil, fertilisers and more
The Lithuanian state-owned freight company received 2,391 transport applications since 1 March, when it started applying a stricter customs inspection policy in collaboration with the Lithuanian Customs Office and the Lithuanian Customs Criminal Service. Out of them, LTG rejected 506. 258 out of the 506 applications concerned Belarusian state-controlled companies and sanctioned products. The rest were subject to the company’s “zero risk” approach in “compliance with EU, US, UN and other sanctions, suspended or terminated contracts”, among other things.
Products banned from using the Lithuanian railway network include oil and oil products, vegetable pomace, construction materials, chemical and mineral fertilisers and technical equipment. However, LTG says it has stopped multiple containers from entering Lithuanian soil without clarifying what their cargo was.
The case of companies involved
LTG and its investigation partners have scrutinised several companies to determine whether they deliberately attempt to break sanction rules. The first company was Belarusian urea fertiliser producer Grodno Azot, suspected of using proxy companies to export its sanctioned products to Lithuania.
The latest report from Lithuania explained that two more companies were suspected of participating in Grodno Azot’s schemes: a freight forwarder and a terminal in the port of Klaipeda. LTG started investigating the two after detaining fifteen wagons carrying urea fertilisers belonging to a service in which both participated. The investigation has produced no tangible results yet, and it is also unknown whether the two suspects transported sanctioned products deliberately or due to misleading information.
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