Russia has lifted the ban on transit traffic for a range of products that were previously sanctioned, including agricultural products and foodstuffs. The measure is effective per 1 July, subjective to certain conditions, reported by the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation.
The decision is considered a major breakthrough for Eurasian rail freight traffic. The transit of the products described was banned since August 2014 when originating from Europe, Norway, the US, Canada or Australia. The ban has had great impact on rail freight traffic between Europe and Asia, as Russia is one of the main transit countries on the New Silk Road. Until now, agricultural products, raw materials and foodstuffs could only be transported to China via routes bypassing Russia, resulting in much longer transit times.
It is important to note that the decree refers to rail and truck transport that enters the Russian territory in transit, on the way to a third country. Thus, the import ban is still in place for products of the type described when destined for the Russian market. With this distinction, the Russian government seems to respond to the growing demand of Eurasian transport services across its country. According to the Russian ministry, the new rules will allow for a volume increase by 82 thousand international transportations per year.