The EU-subsidized logistics project Amber Coast Logistics (ACL) has made its first appearance at Belarusian Transport Week, which was held just recently in Minsk. ACL had a stand of its own and offered a coaching workshop, concentrating on learning from Best Practice examples.
Around 70 logistics players from Belarus attended the English-language coaching seminar, given under the title ‘Logistics companies: quality requirements for logistics services and logistics service providers in Belarus.’ Experts from established logistics companies and institutions featured as speakers. Speakers on the subject of ‘Challenges and requirements: logistics services in regions difficult to access’ included Adina Cailliaux, Project Manager at ACL lead partner Hafen Hamburg Marketing e.V. (HHM) [Port of Hamburg Marketing, Regd. Assn.] and Dr Anatoly Molokovitch, Head of the Logistics Faculty of the ‘School of Business and Management of Technologies’ of the Belarusian state university.
Dr. Molokovitch told those attending the seminar about a new ACL study, which forecasts future transit shipments across Belarus. The study anticipates that the flow of goods by road between the EU and Russia could increase by as much as 250% by the year 2025 in comparison with 2010 levels. To make it possible for this growing volume of transport to be conveyed on Belarusian transport routes, the study argues that the country needs to make adjustments to its transport policy. Among other recommendations, the ACL project managers urge the Belarusian government to intensify its efforts towards joining the WTO. Free trade agreements should have very positive effects on trade and transit operations, and result in economic benefits all round. Other measures the study regards as urgent and indispensable include the harmonization of legal requirements and technical standards for vehicles and infrastructure.
On the subject of ‘Development prospects for multimodal transport chains in the Baltic region and in Belarus’, the speakers included Bernd Meewes, head of PCC Intermodal’s Hamburg branch, and Maris Katranzi, Member of the Management Board of the Riga Container Terminal company. Another of the topics discussed over the three-day workshop was ‘IT services in the logistics sector – EDI as a new growth driver’. Under this heading Tomasz Debicki, ACL project manager with the Polish research and development Institute of Logistics and Warehousing (ILIM) and HHM project manager Marina Rimpo presented two solutions for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) which are being developed and refined under the auspices of ACL.
ILIM’s ‘Transport Border EDI Package’ is a web-based system, which is above all designed to improve communication between the different logistics players involved in the cross-border transport chain. A pilot test for this EDI solution is currently running on a transport corridor extending from Poland by way of the port of Elblag to Kaliningrad, and continuing eastward to Belarus and Russia. HHM’s PORTlog logistics platform makes it possible for logistics companies to tender their services. ACL is investigating the question whether a similar platform could be used to good effect in the Baltic region.
In parallel to Belarusian Transport Week, the annual international Transport and Logistics trade fair was also taking place. Here ACL was represented with a stand of its own. Along with the lead partner, Port of Hamburg Marketing, project partners Ferryport Sassnitz [Sassnitz Ferry Terminal] and Investor Center Ostbrandenburg from Germany and a Latvian project partner, the Latvian Logistics Association, presented their activities and those of the ACL project on the shared stand.
One highlight of the trade fair was a visit to the ACL stand by the Belarusian minister of transport, Anatoly Sivak. His visit emphasized the importance of the EU project to the Belarusian logistics industry. As a transit country for transnational land shipments, Belarus plays a particularly significant part – above all in connecting the EU economic region with Russia. HHM Managing Director Axel Mattern highlighted the importance of Belarus for the Port of Hamburg. This was the first time that Mr. Sivak and Mr. Mattern had met. ‘The Baltic region,’ Mattern said, stressing the significance of the Eastern European country, ‘is the principal hinterland of the Port of Hamburg. So the conveyance of transport shipments in this region is one of HHM’s top priorities. This means that we see Belarus too as a strategically important partner.’
The Transport and Logistics trade fair was being held in 2013 for the seventh time. According to the organizers, it was attended by 120 companies coming from 15 different countries, including Russia, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Austria, Germany, Sweden and Belgium.