A committee of the IRU (International Road Transport Union) on relations with CIS countries met in Kaliningrad yesterday to discuss the problems caused by EU Expansion to truckers transporting goods over the borders of neighbouring countries. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, they discussed ways of integrating the national transport legislation of the countries concerned and trying to bring legislation in line with the transport legislation in the rest of the world.
According to President of the International Transporters Association in Russia Yuri Sukhin 'this must be done without delay otherwise Russia will be squeezed out of the international market for transportation services.' This would lead to huge losses not only for the truckers but for the country as a whole. 'Today one third of all Russia's foreign trade turnover, which is valued at USD 37 billion, is a result of road transportation and the volume of goods transported by road is growing all the time,' Mr Sukhin said. 'However, if Russia has raised the volume of road transportation by 18 times since 1990, the Baltic countries have raised it by 180 times, which demonstrates the high level of competition we are facing. In order to compete with European countries we have to learn to operate according to the same rules and the transportation business should be given the full support of government, ' Mr Sukhin stressed.
As an example of government assistance Mr Sukhin mentioned the Kaliningrad Region, where a special economic zone has led to the creation of about 160 different transportation companies, which are now operating successfully on the transportation market. This has provided over 20 thousand new jobs and has brought in greater tax revenue. 'Unfortunately, the development of this sector is hampered by its own underdeveloped infrastructure and legislation which only creates many obstacles to their work,' he said. 'This causes tail-backs at the check-points which cost the government USD 500 million every year.
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