The queues on the border are now almost two or three days long. On Thursday, for example, the first trucks on the side of the highway were visible about two kilometers from the Customs Control Point Pāternieki.
“We are currently working to introduce an electronic queue on the border. In other words, the driver will know when he has to go to the border by registering in line in advance in a computer system," the minister Ašeradens said.
Although queues are an inconvenience not only to drivers, the priority for customs is no longer the promotion of trade, but the monitoring of sanctions.
Director of the Customs Administration of the State Revenue Service (VID) Raimonds Zukuls stated: “If we look at statistics, 70% of all controls – this is a really huge number – are checks on goods subject to sanctions.”
Recent amendments limiting cargos of semi-trailers and trailers registered in Russia have entered into force and only a few days later 13 cases in which someone wanted to breach them had been identified.
Zukuls said: “[Amendments] also restrict the movement of certain goods in transit through Russian territory, goods destined for Central Asia, says Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan. And of course, this sanctions regime is affecting the overall flow.”
Although the sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia and Belarus impose the same burden on all Member States, the flows differ. Poland has restricted the operation of several control points on the border with Belarus and, accordingly, the trucks travel more through Lithuania and Latvia.
On the other hand, the construction of a tunnel had recently brought to a halt the railway movement to Belarus, but it did not create congestion. The flow of freight along the rails has fallen significantly, with average daily arrivals of 4-5 freight trains.