A logistical centre selling Belarusian construction materials has recently opened in Kaliningrad, with a visit by Belarus’ Architecture and Construction Minister, Anatoly Cherny, to this most western Russian region.
As the project initiator, Mikhail Maryan, states, the site occupies 12 hectares and unites buildings and open-air storage facilities. He explains, “From now on, Kaliningrad businessmen lacking direct ties to Belarusian producers can order products directly from the warehouse. They can come to the centre independently, purchasing all they need at competitive prices.”
“Belarusian companies are supplying products not manufactured in the Kaliningrad Region: cement, road metal, glass, bricks, reinforced concrete structures and other materials. With this in mind, no competition with local companies is likely,” adds Mr. Cherny.
Representatives of Kaliningrad business circles are demonstrating interest in the project, proposing an offloading terminal for Belarusian raw and construction materials in Chernyakhovsk: a city situated halfway between Kaliningrad and the Russian-Lithuanian border. If plans come to fruition, transportation costs will be cut and it will avoid the unnecessary movement of goods.
Belarusian construction materials enjoy great popularity in the Kaliningrad Region, as the Belarusian Embassy to Kaliningrad informs us. It notes that the Republic exported around 80,000 tonnes of cement (worth $4.9m) in 2014 and, from January-July 2015, Kaliningrad businessmen bought 40,800 tonnes, worth $1.7m. Consumption of Belarusian quicklime is rising, up from 15,000 tonnes last year, to 16,450 tonnes already exported so far in 2015.
Against the Rouble’s devaluation, many Kaliningrad entrepreneurs are now turning from European construction materials to Belarusian. Importantly, Belarus-made goods are of equal quality and avoid custom fees. This year, we launched direct sales of Belarusian fittings to the most western Russian region, as the Head of the Belarusian Embassy to Kaliningrad, Vasily Gorbatenko, explains. He comments, “Our ties are vital to trade development within the Eurasian Economic Union. We hope the new logistical centre will encourage our business partnership, and must now work to preserve supply networks for Belarusian construction materials (established by Kaliningrad companies during our years of co-operation).
By Uliana Blazhchishina