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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Transporters Fight to Beat Border Delays

Transport companies are still battling to find a way around customs regulations that have caused huge delays for trucks attempting to cross Russia's borders over the past two weeks.

Several transport companies contacted Wednesday by The Moscow Times said that they were still negotiating with the Russian Customs Committee about freight which had been stopped at the Finnish, Estonian and Latvian borders.

The ruling, which was designed to stop tax avoidance on imported goods, requires that all customs and excise duties must be paid in cash at the Russian border, before any goods can be brought into the country.

Alexander Mironenko, general director of Sovtransservice, a Russian-Liechtenstein transport company that last week had 15 trucks turned back on the Estonian border, said that he signed an agreement with the Smuggling Department of the Russian Customs promising to inform the department about all goods whose documents were suspicious.

He said that Sovtransservice hoped this agreement would give it "a special status", allowing its customers to pay taxes in Moscow and send the bill by the fax, but the arrangement was still untested.

He said the company expected a new train of trucks to come soon.

"Maybe, our new status will help us, but who knows", Mironenko said.

Lonrho, a British distribution company, which had 46 trucks stopped at the Russian-Latvian frontier last week, has tried a different strategy to beat the delays, reloading its cargoes onto trains, according to Simon Dunlop, a local representative.

According to a Western transport consultant, who wished to remain unnamed, the new customs rules were only being applied to goods moved by trucks.

He said that many trucks had been stopped at the Finnish border for the past three weeks, disrupting supply lines and ruining transport schedules.

He said he believed that the customs committee would soon issue a regulation, which will clearly say only goods in trucks will b.

Comment from the customs office was unavailable.