Railway industry officials say that Russian Railways (RZhD), which has a monopoly in Russia, is refusing to accept rail shipments into the Baltic nation of Latvia. Deliveries are down 90% from recent months. Speculation is rampant that Russia is punishing Latvia over its refusal to allow Moscow to use its port facilities for a new pipeline Russia wants to build to deliver Russian gas to Germany. Mostly oil products, fertilizer, coal, and metals shipments have been disrupted, reports Reuters.
When asked about the situation, RZhD stated there is no policy of restricting deliveries to the former Soviet republic, and that each delivery is approved on its own merits.
“Internal Russian Railways data, provided to Reuters by logistics firms, point to a 90 percent drop in the volume of metals, coal and oil products transported by rail from Russia to the Latvian ports of Riga and Ventspils. None of the other Nordstream opponents have reported such changes,” wrote Reuters. “In the first half of May 45,700 tonnes were transported by rail from Russia to the Latvian ports of Riga and Ventspils, while for the full month of April the total was 750,000 tonnes, compared with 1.2 million tonnes for March, the data showed.”
“RZhD has not introduced any restrictions on transport to Latvia, you have to look at each concrete case where despatch has been declined,” said the Russian company.