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Freight traffic traveling to Russia continues to struggle

Narva border crossing.
Narva border crossing. Source: Dmitri Fedotkin/ERR

Estonian companies with links to Russia are struggling and the situation is likely to become more difficult in the future when freight traffic will be disrupted. Some have moved production to Estonia, but not all.

Water filter manufacturer Aquaphor has plants in eastern Estonia, in both Sillamäe and Narva. The company used to rely on products from Russia but has now decided to start making all the necessary materials locally.

"For the last 15 months we have been in the process of redirecting the production of materials and equipment that we now manufacture in Estonia," said Joseph Shmidt, Aquaphor board member.

The Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said, after the initial shock, companies have adapted to the new situation, and supply chains have been redirected from Russia and Belarus.

"A lot of raw material was used from there, and also, for example, spare parts for machinery equipment were traditionally sourced largely from the East and replacements had to be found quickly. I think that by today, many companies have solved these problems," said Mait Palts, the chamber's director general.

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion, the number of trucks traveling over the Russian-Estonian border has halved. It will likely fall further when the Ivangorod crossing will be closed for renovation work in the autumn.

Freight traffic will be suspended for two years.

"It's not clear yet whether it will be completely closed to trucks on the Narva route, or whether one lane will be left anyway, because there really isn't much capacity left elsewhere in Europe. Any such closure of a border crossing will also mean serious difficulties for the other side," said Ants Kutti, the Tax and Customs Board's external border sector manager.

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Editor: Marko Tooming, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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