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"Pāterniekos" rindā jāgaida pat 12 diennaktis

Trucks wait on Latvia-Belarus border for up to 12 days

At the Latvian-Belarusian border point "Pāternieki" which is currently the only place to cross, 460 vehicles were queuing on Tuesday, December 12. Waiting times can take as much as 12 days, Latgale regional television reported. 

The long queues on the Latvian-Belarusian border are common at the end of the year but this year there is a particular tension – long-distance drivers wait nearly two weeks in the queue.

“It's already the 12th day that I'm standing here. I stopped on November 30. Then it was 16 kilometers, now just a kilometer to the border. I don't know how long it will take. It's very difficult,“ said long-distance driver Pavel from Belarus.

“12 days already. The end cannot be seen yet. It's sad, can't do anything about it. It's good to have toilets here closer to the border. Further afield, one either needs to suffer or go to the Krāslava service station,” said Sergei, a long-distance driver from Lithuania.

This year the work of border guards and customs officers is complicated by the fact that border inspection posts with Belarus closed in Latvia and elsewhere in Europe, as well as the increased inspection of goods subject to sanctions.

"Some of the human resources from the Silene customs border inspection post have been diverted here. Currently operating at this customs checkpoint, it is 20 people, even slightly more. We have sufficient human resources, but the control infrastructure of the customs office itself is intended for a certain amount of vehicles," explained Uldis Ruļuks from Latgale part of the Customs Administration of the State Revenue Service (VID).

The long wait between truck drivers is often a source of conflict. "The circumstances are not much fun because some people are doing the wrong thing against their colleagues - trying to overtake. Unfortunately that's how our job is. The holidays… everybody had to realize that the movement would be bigger,” said long-distance driver Pavel.

The “Pāternieki” border checkpoint provides for 100 truck transports to be checked overnight. Only 65 trucks were checked the night to Tuesday. Checking can take anywhere from ten minutes, up to a week. This is influenced by the circulation of information for the accurate inspection of goods, often even in contact with the countries of destination of the goods, such as Kazakhstan.

“I wouldn't want people to think that fast queues can fall, cherishing expectations. While only one customs checkpoint on the Belarusian border is open, while there are sanctions and we control it, I don't think the situation in particular could change,” Ruļuks said.

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