Modernised Privalka now coming into operation
International checkpoint at Belarusian-Lithuanian border opens after reconstruction
By Yelena Stasova
The solemn opening was attended by representatives of the State Customs Committee of Belarus, the State Border Committee of Belarus, local authorities and construction organisations, as well as representatives of the Customs Department under the Lithuanian Finance Ministry.
Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Belarus Sergei Borisyuk underlined that the renewed border checkpoint will be a hallmark of the country. With Belarus-EU trade turnover on the rise, it is important to increase the throughput capacity of border checkpoints. In the last five years, a number of border checkpoints at the Lithuanian, Polish, and Ukrainian borders of Belarus were reconstructed, enabling to increase the total throughput capacity 3.5-fold. With the Privalka border checkpoint reopened, the throughput capacity of Belarusian border checkpoints will increase even more.
Reconstruction of the border checkpoint was also important taking into account the IIHF World Championship that will take place in Belarus in 2014. The number of vehicles that cross the border in the Baltic direction is expected to rise substantially.
First Deputy Chairman of the State Border Committee of Belarus Igor Butkevich underlined that the border checkpoint meets present-day requirements. Premises have been built for auditing services, and the necessary equipment has been installed: video surveillance and voice announcement systems, vehicle number plate recognition systems, alongside intruder detection and fire alarm systems. The customs and border service building now has areas for passenger inspection and freight vehicle clearance. Modules have been built to verify the weight and external dimensions of vehicles, to process transport vehicles, in addition to parking lots and all necessary for the smooth operation of the border checkpoint.
It should be mentioned that the reconstruction of the Privalka border checkpoint is in progress in line with the complex programme aiming to enhance the infrastructure of automobile border checkpoints at the Belarusian state border in 2011-2015. It was launched three years ago. The border checkpoint was closed on September 1st, 2013 for the sake of completing the final part of the reconstruction. Taking into account the intensity of the vehicle traffic and the number of people, who cross the border from Belarus into Lithuania and the other way, the authorities decided on completing the reconstruction as fast as possible.
After the complete reconstruction the throughput capacity of the Privalka border checkpoint has tripled from 340 vehicles to 1,000 vehicles per day. Within 24 hours the border checkpoint can process 570 passenger cars, 400 trucks, and 30 buses. The border checkpoint now has eight traffic lanes while pedestrians can still cross the border.
Construction works are still in progress at the border checkpoint, but they are no longer a problem for those willing to cross the border.