Updated at 13:33,29-11-2021

Lukashenka threatens to divert fertilizers to unlikely destination


Lukashenka threatens to divert fertilizers to unlikely destination
Port in Klaipeda / delfi​
Amid the migration crisis, Lithuania has warned Belarus of a possible complete halt in the transit of fertilizers. The sectoral sanctions introduced in June are soft enough in this regard, but now there is a serious possibility of "filling the spots" in the sanctions documents.

"Look, we'll supply these volumes, we'll load them in Murmansk," said Alyaksandr Lukashenka during the "Big Talk" on August 9. "It's not a problem, and we will supply it by the shortest route via the Northern Sea Route to China - this is our main market - and to India, the southeast. You can shoot in the head, if you want."

Apparently, Lukashenka was misinformed: it is unlikely that Belarusian fertilizers can be seriously rerouted via Murmansk.

For example, the Argus agency cited interesting figures in 2020: only 64% of fertilizers produced in Russia go through all Russian ports. Russians have to use ports in Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania.

Among Russian ports, St. Petersburg and Ust-Luga handle the maximum volume - 9.8 and 2.8 million tons a year, respectively. Murmansk, according to the agency, received 1.16 million tons annually. This is not because they do not want to, but because there is no possibility to increase the shipment.

The annual export of potash fertilizers from Belarus amounts to about 10 million tons. Right now Murmansk, for example, can handle about 1.2 million tons a year.

At the same time, the city is implementing a new project, but even after its implementation, the annual capacity can only grow up to 4 million tons. But even these volumes are unlikely to go to Belarus, because even local fertilizer producers - such as Uralchem and Eurochem - lack Russian capacity.

Journey through Klaipeda

The Port of Klaipeda is now the main "window to the world" for Belarusian fertilizers. The Lithuanian railroad and Birių krovinių termi terminal in Klaipeda also profit from it.

The railroad belongs to the state, but 30% of the terminal's shares are owned by the Belaruskali. In fact, it earns its money by operating this terminal.

In the same way, Belarusian oil products used to go through Baltic ports. Now they are directed to Russia's Ust-Luga - and there is enough capacity for oil products, unlike fertilizers.