Russia is planning to close the Ivangorod border crossing point to vehicles for two years. This would see transit volumes fall and employment take a hit in the city.
Leningrad Oblast Governor Aleksandr Drozdenko has announced, during a meeting with the oblast legislative body, that Russia will close the Narva border crossing from the Ivangorod side to all vehicles for a period of two years due to reconstruction works. Estonia has not been officially notified of the move.
According to the governor, only pedestrians will be able to cross the border while Russia reconstructs the border crossing on its side.
Over 340,000 vehicles have crossed the border between Narva and Ivangorod this year. Closing the border would have a negative impact on Narva.
"It is sure to affect employment in the city, the Narva economy, people working in logistics, as drivers. While Narva has served as a transit hub, it will now become a dead end where Europe starts. There are plenty of challenges in store for the city, Mayor Katri Raik said.
Goods carrier Narva Auto concentrates exclusively on hauling cargo to Russia. From next year, trucks out of Narva would have to use border crossing points in southeastern Estonia.
"We could describe it as a low blow. It impacts all Ida-Viru County haulers, and it will be a difficult period if we have to send all of our trucks south," said Nikolai Burdakov, head of Narva Auto.
Vitali Muravjov, head of construction company Rosgrantsoi that is in charge of the work, told ERR radio news that renovation cannot go ahead without traffic restrictions and that the Russian government should communicate the decision in the near future.
Editor: Barbara Oja, Marcus Turovski