Representatives of leading transport companies in Russia's North-West are proposing to solve the problem of allowing Russian lorries into Finland by switching lorries at the customs border. For the North-West's hauliers this problem is currently very acute due to limits on special permits introduced by the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The official reason for this decision by the Finnish authorities was that Russian hauliers had used up all their super-heavy lorry permits for entering Finland. The continual growth of trade between Russia and Finland means that the number of permits needs to be increased. In the past these questions were resolved diplomatically without any problems, but this year the Finnish authorities decided not to increase the permit quota. As a consequence, Russian hauliers (especially in the North-West), who have used up all 135 thousand of their permits, began to suffer heavy losses. The Finnish authorities made a concession by issuing a further 3 thousand permits, but this did not resolve the problem for the Russian side.
Unofficially, Finland explains its position as a response to the Leningrad regional government's refusal to allow Finnish vehicles heavier that 55 tonnes on to its territory. The regional government defends its decision as a response to the worsening state of the region's roads.
The solution proposed by Russian transport firms is that a Russian lorry will deliver the load to the Finnish border, where it will be transferred to a Finnish lorry to be delivered to its destination. According to experts, this solution has a legal flaw: transferring the load is contrary to current customs legislation, which states that during inspection the haulier cannot be changed. However, as a temporary measure to prevent likely transport congestion at the Finnish-Russian border, the proposal could be adopted by a decision of the Russian Government. In connection with this the North-West customs department, which transport companies had approached with their proposal, is preparing a corresponding proposal to the State Customs Committee.
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