The Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis has met with the Chief Executives of the two main container terminals in Klaipėda seaport – „Klaipėdos Smeltė“ and „Klaipėdos konteinerių terminalas“ – to discuss the possibilities of providing transportation services to large volume of NATO member states’ cargo on its way to/from Afghanistan, reported lrytas.lt on 11 October.
The above mentioned terminals are already serving the transit of non-military NATO ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) cargo to Afghanistan through Lithuania.
“The aim to secure that NATO cargo transit route goes through Lithuania is not only based on financial grounds, but also on the fact that it is an important economic and political project on the state level, which would bring long-term benefits to Lithuania”, stressed the Foreign Minister.
The first group of containers with non-military cargo of NATO member states serving in the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has reached the Lithuanian seaport of Klaipėda in December 2010. On 15 January 2011 the cargo was loaded onto rail wagons and sent to Afghanistan through the territory of Belarus.
Larger volume cargos began to be transported through Lithuanian territory in autumn 2011, when the first regular ship belonging to Maersk company and containing ISAF cargo from the US reached Lithuania on 5 September.
The highly developed multi-modal international cargo transportation corridors through Lithuanian territory as well as its experience allows Lithuania to secure its position in developing international transport corridors towards Asia. By actively participating in the transportation of supplies to the US and other NATO member states’ forces in Afghanistan, Lithuania aims to secure also NATO return transit.
After the NATO International Security Assistance Force is withdrawn from Afghanistan, Lithuania will be able to use these transit corridors in the direction of Asia in conducting other countries’ commercial and development cooperation projects in Asia.
The Foreign Minister also had a meeting with the Mayor of Klaipėda Vytautas Grubliauskas. The meeting stressed the current government’s efforts to pursue a unified energy policy.
A.Ažubalis also visited SC Klaipėdos Nafta, where the construction of the liquid gas terminal – the issue of national importance to Lithuania – was discussed.
The Foreign Minister visited the University of Klaipėda, where he attended a discussion on the readiness of Lithuania to take on the leadership of the EU in 2013.
Translated by Ieva Indriūnaitė