The transport complex of the Republic of Belarus consists of vehicular, railway, water and air transports. Its developed modern infrastructure as well as the country’s location in the centre of Europe serves as a kind of bridge to pass the ways connecting the EU countries with Russia, Kazakhstan, China and other states. The above provides for a wide opportunity to encourage the transit of passengers and cargoes through the country.
The main target of the state policy in the field of transports of the Republic of Belarus lies in the formation of an effective, stable and safe transportation system meeting the requirement of the economy and the demand of Belarus’s citizens in transportations as well as the creation of a favourable environment to implement the transit capabilities of the country.
Beneficial geographic location of the Republic of Belarus in Europe, modern multimode transportation corridors, progress in transport service exports are one of the main components of a stable development of the national economy.
According to the Regulations on the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Belarus approved by the Regulation of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus No.985 dated July 31, 2006 “Issues of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Belarus”, the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Belarus: implements unified transport policy directed to the creation of the environment to meet the needs of the economy and the population in transportation services;
exercises state regulation and governance in the field of vehicular, maritime, inland water, railway, municipal electric transport and subway, civil aviation and the use of the part of air space of the Republic of Belarus, that is by law determined for the air routes, local air lines, aerial work areas, civil airdromes and airports, road activities, transportation activity of legal entities and individual entrepreneur;
coordinates activities of other bodies of state administration of the country within its competence.
The transition of the Republic of Belarus to the commercial social oriented way of the economy development has established the basis for its integration to the world’s division of labor process. An increase in transportation volume sets new, higher requirements to the quality of the highway network and its infrastructure. In this connection, the Government considers the development of road facilities as the priority task.
The main priorities of the State road policy are the efficient development and improvement of technical conditions of public highway networks for the repletion of wants of the economy and the population of the Republic in motor transport networks, arrangement of conditions for social sphere development, and also integration of trunk roads in the European transport system and the unified network of international highways of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Eurasian Economic Community. Functions of highway policy implementation are assigned to the Department “Belavtodor” of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Road facilities of the Republic of Belarus are presented as the unified manufacturing economic complex which includes public domain highway network, manufacturing bases of road organizations, which exercise projecting, maintenance, repair, reconstruction, building, diagnostics of highways, pursuance of science researches, manufacturing and maintenance of highway engineering, winning and refining of non-metallic materials and other activities connected with the highway network proper operation provision.
Extension of public highway networks equals to 83.0 thous. km, including 15.4 thousand of principal roads and 67.6 thous. km of local roads. There are 5.3 thousand of bridges and viaducts of the overall length of 173 kilometers. The density of public highway networks equals to 400 kilometer per 1000 square kilometers of the territory.
The Republic of Belarus has five international E-roads of overall length 1841 kilometers passing through its territory, and also the Trans-European transportation corridor II (Berlin-Warsaw-Minsk-Moscow-Nizhniy Novgorod), the Trans-European transportation corridor IX (Helsinki- St. Petersburg - Moscow/Pskov-Kiev-Kishinev-Bucharest-Dimitrovgrad-Alexandropolis) and its branch IXB (Kaliningrad/Klaipeda/Kaunas-Vilnius-Minsk-Kiev), which have overall length of 1513 kilometers.
Road organizations permanently provide maintenance of transportation operating conditions which are the part of the Trans-European transportation highway corridors in accordance with international requirements at the expense of its proper upkeep, timely carrying out the current repair, improving safety of vehicular traffic, driver information improvement, introduction of the route marker sign system, improvement of engineering arrangement. Development of motorway service objects is performed at the expense of financial resources of private investors.
The governmental programme “Roads of Belarus” for 2006-2015 envisages the modernisation of roads on all directions of the international transport corridors increasing their bearing capacity to 11.5 tons per single lane; improving the performance standards of the principal roads connecting Minsk with oblast centres; updating the most heavy traffic road sections with four of six lanes having the total stretch 314 km; construction of detours of 11 cities in order to loosen the load on streets from an intense traffic and environmental improvement.
Before the year 2011 it is expected to build over 600 motorway service areas with a view to improve motorway users’ service and increase the attractiveness of the Republic of Belarus in the field of international tourism.
Transport inspection exercises licensure to conduct certain type of activity, control of producers in hauling operations and legislation services in the sphere of transport activities in Belarus, control of access gates, compliance with the requirements of international motor transportation, and also control of passageway of heavyweight and large-sized vehicles through the state frontier of the Republic of Belarus.
In 2015, Transport Inspection exchanged permissions for international road transportation of passengers and cargoes with 50 states.
Currently, there are 24 highway checkpoints operating in the Belarusian section of the external border of the Eurasian Economic Union.
The total stretch of route network of Belarus on all types of regular bus services equals to about 210 thousand kilometers.
The bus route network of the Republic is served by road transport organizations subordinated to Regional Executive Committees and Minsk City Executive Committee, as well as other carriers of state and non-state ownership.
Over 4 million passengers are transported by regular bus routes daily. Passengers service is carried out by 244 passenger terminals including 35 bus terminals and 101 bus stations.
The integration of the transport complex into the international transport system and the implementation of science and technology achievements into the transportation process contribute to a stable and effective operation of passenger and freight vehicles of Belarus.
In accordance with the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On Road Traffic” of 17 July 2007, a network of diagnostic stations and technical control points, equipped with the top of the line equipment, was created in the country, ensuring the full needs of vehicle inspection. On the basis of Presidential Decree No.551 of 28 November 2005, the permits on the admission of vehicles to participate in road traffic are issued by republican unitary service enterprise “Beltechosmotr”.
The Belarusian Railway is the main part of the transport complex of the country which holds a prominent place in the life support of the Republic of Belarus and its multi-branch economy. Comparing to its counterparts (excluded of main pipelines), the railway transport has the major transit opportunity. The share of transit in the total cargo transportations by railway transport makes 38% and the year 2009 saw 43.4 mln. tons of cargoes transited.
Length in use of the Belarusian railway is more than 5.5 thousand of kilometers. The double electrified line Brest-Minsk-Orsha- the border of the Russian Federation, with a stretch of 612 kilometers, provides traveling speed of freight trains up to 90 km/hr, passenger trains – 120 km/hour.
Being the member of the Coordination Council on Transsiberian Transportation (CCTT), the Belarusian Railway works at the organisation of rail transportations to the countries of Asia-Pacific Region, including China. The above establishment has more than 130 member societies, including – railways of Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and also the leading sea carriers, operators, shipping agents, etc. The main goals of this organization are the coordination of activity of freight transportation participants and development of economic relations between countries of the Asia-Pacific Region.
On the initiative of a governmental freight forwarder of the Belarusian Railway Belintertrans Unitary Enterprise, the constantly cruising container train “Mongolskiy Vector” on route Brest-Ulan Bator, which further was extended to the station Hohhot (China) had been launched. Jointly with Chinese experts, the Belarusian Railway elaborated the technology of the whole transportation process from a Chinese supplier to a European consignee; the through rates were also coordinated. The information on train movement in real time and rates are placed at the web of the Brest branch of Belintertrans – www.brit.by.
With a view to develop and coordinate the transportations headed to the Asia-Pacific Region, including China and back, a representation of OAO “TransContainer” - a subsidiary of OAO “Russian Railways” was opened in Brest.
Suburban and passenger services on the Belarusian Railway connect regional and oblast centres of Belarus. Today, the traffic schedule sets the cruising of 424 pairs of suburban trains, 26 inter-country trains. Belarus has 21 railroad terminals, including 4 – extra large (capable to place over 1,500 passengers), more than 560 passenger stopping points and 320 railway stations.
Ticketing at the Belarusian Railway is fully automated and is carried out via the ACS “Express”. Points of sale of 105 railway stations provide passengers with an opportunity to quickly purchase tickets to any station, located within the railway network of countries being the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic States.
The international traffic non-CIS ticketing technology is being constantly improved. The international booking offices are available in 12 cities and towns of the country: Minsk, Orsha, Molodechno, Baranovichi, Luninets, Grodno, Lida, Brest, Gomel, Mogilev, Vitebsk, Polotsk.
Nowadays, railway passenger traffic has connected Belarus with Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Cologne, Warsaw, Prague, Bratislava, Varna, Bucharest, Vienna, and also with other capitals and administrative centers of Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, and Kazakhstan. In the international traffic the cruising of 47 trains is covered by schedule.
At present, the Belarusian Railway has organized the cruising of 14 branded (named) trains, including 8 – in international traffic and 6 – inter-country traffic.
The Belarusian Railway has systematically conducted the certification of the quality management system of services in the field of passenger carriage by branded trains, services rendered before a train departure and after its arrival to the railway stations of Minsk, Grodno, Brest, Gomel, Polotsk. As a part of this quality system the Minsk Passenger Station and Minsk Car Section of the Belarusian Railway were honored the Government Award in the field of quality.
The Belarusian Railway has been carrying out a systematic work at the development of cooperation with administration bodies of railway organisations of foreign states, both on bilateral basis and within the frameworks of the most prominent international organisations employed in the field of railway transport.
Deepening cooperation with railway administrations of the CIS Member States is implemented within the frameworks of the Council for Railway Transport.
Within the frameworks of the intergovernmental Organization for Cooperation of Railways (OSJD) specific measures are being worked out to oversee further development of international railway transportations in the direction Europe-Asia-Europe, solve exploitation, technical and ecological problems of railway transport. The Belarusian railway has been participating in the forming of basic principal of transport policy of the OSJD members, including combined transportations between counties of Europe and Asia-Pacific Region, the updating of transport legislation applicable in the international passenger and freight traffics.
An important priority for the railway is the cooperation with the International Union of Railways (UIC). The participation of railway’s experts in the Mission “East-West”, the Integration Group of Railways of the CIS Members and Baltic States with a rail gauge of 1520 mm, the Mission of high speeds “Zone East” on problems of high-speed operations development, and also in other administrative and executive bodies of the UIC creates prerequisites for further integration of the Belarusian Railway in the Pan-European Transport Network and the competitive recovery of railway transport in Euro-Asian transport links.
The Belarusian Railway pays much attention to the cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific to set the cruising of demo trains from China, Korea and Japan to the countries of Eastern and Western Europe.
Having been a member of the Coordinating Council on Transsiberian Transportation since 1997, the Belarusian Railway contributes in the establishment of settled terms of freight transportations in the Asia- Europe traffic using the Trans-Siberian Railway, the transportation technologies improvement for the above route, the carrying out of agreed tariff policy.
There are 7 international airports in the Republic of Belarus: Minsk National Airport, the airports Minsk-1, Gomel, Grodno, Brest, Mogilev and Vitebsk, from where inter-country transportations, scheduled international flights in foreign countries, and also charter passenger transportations are carried out.
Minsk National Airport has permission for flight support of I and II category of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and can admit any type of aircraft.
Airport Minsk-1 is intended for exploitation of the following types of aircrafts: TU-134, YAK-42, AN-24, YAK-40 and a lower class planes; airports of Gomel, Grodno, Mogilev, Vitebsk – IL-76, TU-154, V-737 and a lower class planes; airport of Brest – AN-124 (“Ruslan”), IL-76, TU-154, A-130-300, V-767-200 and a lower class planes.
Belarusian air carriers are represented by three air companies: RUE “National Air Company “Belavia”, RAUE “Airport “Gomalavia”, RUE “Air Company Transaviaexport”. The first two specialize in airline passenger carriage; the air company Transaviaexport is the leader in the Belarus air cargo carriage market.
RUE “National Air Company “Belavia” is the main aeronautic passenger carrier of the Republic of Belarus, which carries out scheduled and nonscheduled (charter) international flights.
The air company “Belavia” is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which unites more then 220 air companies of the world.
Currently, aircraft fleet of air company consists of the following airplanes: Boeing 737-500, TU-154M, TU-154B, AN-24, YAK-40.
RAUE “Airport Gomelavia” is the main carrier which carries international flights as well as inter-country ones.
The above air company carries out scheduled daily flights between Gomel and Minsk, and also connects the Belarus capital, oblast centers such as Gomel, Grodno and Brest with Kaliningrad city – a part of the Russian Federation – by regular air traffic. Flight frequency between Kaliningrad and Belarusian cities and towns is tailored to the current demand for air carriages.
The air company “Transaviaexport” is an operator of aircrafts IL-76TD intended for transportation of bulky cargoes having an average weight 45 tones and volume up to 190 m³.
Nowadays, air companies conduct air cargo carriages using 10 aircrafts IL-76TD, 2 of them are reserved for freight transportations to/from the territory of the Republic of Belarus taking into account the current needs of the market of the Republic of Belarus, and also necessities of carrying out special flights connected with force majeure events.
The capital of Belarus is braced by scheduled air traffic with capitals and major industrial and health resorts of the CIS Member States, capitals and major industrial and health resorts of the states of Western Europe, Middle East, where nearly 30 flights are headed to.
Upon commercial agreements, the National Air Company “Belavia” carries out passengers’ dispatch through Shannon, Warsaw, Vienna, Prague to the USA (New-York, Boston, Chicago) and Canada (Montreal and Toronto) and in a number of other world cities.
Over 1000 world airlines from 96 countries fly through Belarus with their number increase year by year. Moreover, all seven Belarusian airports have access to international flight support.
Measures to master new directions for scheduled transit flights through Belarus to the FSU and non-CIS states are being constantly taken. The National Air Company “Belavia” has been actively implementing marketing surveys to elaborate convenient interlining system through Minsk National Airport and create competitive through fares for passengers.
A regular launch of additional air-routes increases the Belarus air space capacity and expands its transit opportunity.
A high political and economic stability in the country, a consistent policy of the Belarus Government related to the protection of the national air carriage market (including the absence of low cost airlines) makes Belarus attractive to conduct scheduled flights to.
Maritime and River Transport
Being a component part of the Belarus transportation complex, water transport enables freight and passenger transportations along internal waterways with length of about 2 thousand kilometers to riverine stations and freight handling at 10 river ports, situated in the basins of such navigable rivers as: Pripyat, Dnieper, Sozh, Berezina, Neman, Western Dvina. A waterway, which is a part of the European internal waterway – the Bug-river system – the Dnieper-Bug Canal – Pripyat – Dnieper – to the Black sea passes through the territory of the Republic of Belarus. River ports of Gomel, Bobruisk, Mozyr have railway approach lines and are adapted for freight handling, cruising in mixed traffic. Harbor facilities are fitted up with large-duty floating and lifting gantries, freight mechanized lines for a quick vessels’ working.
Nowadays inland navigation fleet of the Republic of Belarus consists of high speed passenger hydrofoils, suburban line pleasure crafts, highly-maneuverable towing fleet, non self-propelled cargo vessels and special-purpose vessels.
Being a landlocked country, the Republic of Belarus establishes proper shipping and masters new export freight traffics to the non-CIS countries.
According to the “Program of development of inland waterway and maritime transport of the Republic of Belarus for 2011–2015”, approved by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus as of 24.12.2010 No.1895, the acquisition of marine vessels is planned to be carried out at the expense of foreign investors.
The Ministry of transport and communications assists to intensify work in sphere of transportations, growth of competitiveness of Belarusian carriers on the transport service market and export development, makes efforts to develop international cooperation and external economic relations concerning matters falling within the competence of the Mintrans (Ministry of Transport and Communications), implementation of general state policy in the field of transportation-shipping activity, development and perfection of transportation-shipping services, transport logistics with a view to optimize freights transportations related to the external trade. Cooperation between the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Association of International Road Carriers (BAMAP) and the Association of International Forwarders (BAME) promotes effective solution of these tasks.
Being a member of the main international conventions and agreements which regulate international road transportations of cargoes and passengers, the Mintrans makes a great progress in cooperation with international governmental (ITC UNECE, ECMT (European Conference of Ministers of Transport), the European Commission of the European Union, the Coordinating Conference on Transport of the CIS countries, EurAsEC) and non-governmental (IRU, FIATA) organizations.
The Republic of Belarus has concluded bilateral agreements with 42 states, and exchanges permissions for Belarusian transporters to carry out transportations along the territory of 48 states.
As a result of a circumspect and task-oriented policy implemented by the Ministry of Transport and Communications in the sphere of transportation, conditions for its effective development, increase in attractiveness of our territory and legislation for international transport system participants are being steadily improved.