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Partnership and interaction don’t exclude competition

Belarusians and Russians launch major logistics project

By Nikolay Alexeyev

Within the Single Economic Space, investments are being attracted into transport and logistics infrastructure. One of the first major joint projects is Russian-Belarusian ZollBel, whose presentation recently took place in the Moscow Region.
“We are giving businessmen the opportunity to really feel the advantages of the SES,” commented the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Russia, H.E. Mr. Andrei Kobyakov. Two identical transport and logistics centres are being set up near Minsk and Moscow, with international level warehouses opening for temporary storage of goods, with a shared IT system. Those taking part in foreign sales will be able to choose the location most convenient to them for customs clearance.

The project is being implemented by Belintertrans Ltd. and Russian ZollRu Ltd. explains Alexander Malyutin, Director General of the ZollRu Group of Companies, whose warehouse facilities are among the largest in Europe. Its forklift vehicles, like ants, skilfully bustle between shelves, easily picking up heavy palettes of goods.

Despite 15 Degree frosts outside, it’s warm in the warehouses, so staff don’t complain of conditions. The customs offices work alongside, processing documentation to allow them to decide permitted quotas for the Union State market. It’s most efficient to have customs and logistics working in tandem — especially for the end customer, since fewer problems result in lower prices in stores.

On the third floor of the Kashirsky customs point warehouse, the scale of activity is colossal. However, everything runs smoothly, with no backlog. The secret is simple.

“Several years ago, electronic data handling software was set up,” explains Galina Leontieva, who heads Kashirsky customs point. “The system now has an online presence, allowing entrepreneurs to submit documents via our website. The General Secretary of the World Customs Organisation, Kunio Mikuria, has visited us and was greatly surprised at our rate of development.”

The facility even has an innovative department, trialling new systems for commercial activity; the IntelService-M IT Company has been set up to run the operation, as Mr. Kobyakov tells us. “Belarus is actively launching high-tech electronic declaration, rivalling Russia in this respect. It’s vital for the Russians to liaise with us in all innovative areas, so that we move in parallel. New logistics centres are being built in Russia and Belarus, so it makes sense for us to co-ordinate our systems. We’ll be co-operating and competing with them simultaneously.”

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