Amid blockade, Lithuania proposes new grain export route for Ukraine via Neman River
After Russia's withdrawal from the grain agreement, the port of Klaipėda may become a new gateway for Ukrainian agricultural products. The Lithuanian maritime cluster, which unites the country's maritime business and scientific community, offers to deliver Ukrainian grain to Klaipėda via the Neman River, writes Delfi.
- Subscribe to LIGA.net in English on Twitter
The use of the internal water corridor may be the most optimal solution for grain to reach the Lithuanian port city. It will also contribute to the development of freight transportation on the country's largest river.
When transporting Ukrainian grain by rail and reloading it in Kaunas, it would be necessary to change the track or reload the container from one train to another once, not twice. This would significantly reduce costs, believes Laimonas Rimkus, the head of Klaipeda-based shipping company Bega.
European experience shows that freight transportation by inland waterways can be 30-40% cheaper than by land.
According to Rimkus, it would be possible to improve the grain storage and transshipment capacities of the Linas Agro holding, which are already operating at the Neman berths in Kaunas and Jurbarkas.
The construction of the European railway track to Klaipeda is a strategic task, but it takes time, the head of the Bega company emphasized.
By including its inland waterways in the transport chain, Lithuania could receive not only Ukrainian grain, which is transported along the Neman, but also other cargoes in the Klaipeda port.
The waterway brings Klaipeda's maritime freight transport to southeastern Poland closer by approximately 100 kilometers. Thus the Lithuanian port could become an alternative to the Polish ports of Gdansk and Gdynia.
The Ukrainian Grain Association appealed to the European Commission with a proposal to create alternative routes for the export of grain from Ukraine through European ports with subsequent shipment to third countries.
Last week, the president of Lithuania said that Poland supported the idea of simplifying the transportation of Ukrainian grain to Baltic ports.