What are the pros of Belarus' transport system?

What are the pros of Belarus' transport system?

This week, the first train from distant China with construction materials for the industrial park "Great Stone" arrived in Minsk region. Another related news: a river tourist route opens between Grodno and Lithuanian Druskininkai from early summer 2016. So water transport is not forgotten either, though Belarus is a land-locked country. But the leader is motor transport: cargo transportation has occupied first place in the export of services since the beginning of 2016. And then there is also subway and horse-drawn carriages - which are still a traditional means of transport in the countryside. Our correspondent Yulia Beshanova painted "the picture of Belarus' transportation" for the TV program Picture of the World.

This train has overcome 9,500 kilometers along the route of the Silk Road. Belarus welcomed this week the first train with building materials from China. Forty containers were on the road in the course of 16 days. If the delivery had been carried out by sea, this would have taken at least 25 days and nights.

Yulia Beshanova, correspondent:
On the ground and under the ground, on water and in the air. The scale of the transport system of Belarus impresses. It is transport that brings every 12th ruble to Belarus' GDP. Every 16th Belarusian is employed in the transport industry.

The geographical position of Belarus requires the country to be open. This position predetermined Belarus' transit status. From west to east and from north to south 2 out of 10 international transport corridors cross Belarus.

Roads act like a circulatory system of the economy. Their length in Belarus is about 100,000 kilometers. It is almost 2.5 trips around the world. At present, up to 70% of all passengers and cargo are transported by road. Car transportation ranks first in the export of services. 

Since the beginning of 2016, foreign currency earnings of truckers rose to a record $202.5 million.

The international crossing point Kozlovichi is the largest cargo terminal of the Eurasian Union, which groups Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. About 550,000 tons of cargo passes it on average every month. Here, time is literally money. 

Pawel Piekarski, truck driver (Poland):
We transport goods from Moscow via this route. A large number of vehicles pass through the border from both the Belarusian and the Polish side. Here, on the Belarusian side, an additional convenience has been introduced: stamping has been cancelled. All procedures don't take much time. Look at what is here today: everything is well-organized and there are no queues.

Belarusian Railroads is a brand with worldwide reputation. Passenger rail service connects Belarus with Paris and Nice, Berlin and Warsaw, Prague, Bucharest and Vienna. You can get to almost any city in Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Kazakhstan without difficulties either. 

A qualitative breakthrough here was the electrification of lines and the constant work on increasing speed. Ideally it should be up to 160 kilometers per hour. Carriers choose rail transport because of speed and reliability. Via transit routes, Belarus connects China with countries of Western Europe.   

Gennady Azarenkov, head of the cargo department of the Brest Branch of the Belarusian Railways:
Of course, it is more expensive than by sea but always on time and safely. While a few years ago containers waited for transshipment in Brest for about 24 hours, now this time ranges from 10 to 12 hours. And we are working to make this figure 7.5-8 hours.

The country of rivers and lakes, Belarus actively uses the water potential. Shipping locks are being modernized on the Dnieper-Bug canal. In the foreseeable future, Belarusian waterways will be connected with European ones thus restoring the historical waterway trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks. By the way, despite being a land-locked country, Belarus deems it necessary to develop maritime transport. To carry export and import cargo Belarus uses Russian and Baltic ports. International travel routes is a lofty dream of water transport workers in Belarus but they are making successes here: a tourist route will connect Grodno and Lithuania's Druskininkai. Belarus' first cruise ship will be soon launched too.

Alexander Zakharenko, deputy head of Maritime and River Transport Department of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Belarus:
A Pinsk plant is building a cruise ship, which would be able to be at sea about of 3-5 days autonomously. We are finishing this work. We plan to use it on the River Pripyat. The route is Brest-Kyiv.

The easiest way to get to Belarus is by air. 

A full participant in the global air traffic, National Airport Minsk regularly makes flights to 56 airports in the world. The airspace of the Republic is used by airlines from 100 countries. 

If you look into the sky of Belarus, you can see a plane or its trace every minute. Huge aircraft with bulky loads also rise into the air from Belarus: charter flights deliver containers to Asia, Africa, Latin America and even Antarctica.

Svetlana Mironik, spokeswoman for Minsk National Airport:
In 2015, we transported 2,782,866 passengers. This is more than 7,500 per day. The nearest point where planes fly is Vilnius and the farthest is Abu Dhabi.  

Today, the citizens of Minsk have no enthusiasm when it comes to new reports about the growing number of residents. But older persons remember when in the 1970s, each new resident was happily greeted. What was the reason for the greetings? Minsk wanted a subway, and in order to build it in the USSR, a city needed a population of about a million. 

Today the Minsk subway is the 4th in terms of traffic volume among the 16 metros in CIS countries, being behind subways in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev.

Andrei Kuzmin, spokesman for the Minsk metro:
On average, we carry about 860,000-870,000 people daily. The prospect of the Minsk metro is the third line, which first section is now under construction. The fourth line will stretch from Bangalore Square to Chizhovsky reservoir (presumably). But this is a distant prospect.

Public transport is used by 90% of Belarusians. In the 60s, Belarus bought buses from Hungary and trams from Latvia. Today, 100% of public transport in Minsk is of Belarusian origin. By the way, Belarus is the only post-Soviet country that boasts the release of all types of urban transport. The first tramway in Belarus drove through the streets of Vitebsk. And if you visit Novopolotsk, you will see how the future meets the past: here ply the oldest and newest models of the tram.

There are almost no white spots on the transport map of Belarus. The country's transport system is diverse and effective. It allows realizing any adventure of a traveler and any ambitious business plan of a carrier. The only thing you need to know is the final destination.