Logistics companies since the beginning of the week, one after another, confirm the stoppage of the transit of sanctioned goods through Turkey, and, most likely, this will be for a long time, Kommersant writes . Vedomosti reported the same with reference to several other sources .
Since the evening of Monday, March 6, the Turkish customs service has been rejecting transit declarations for goods for Russia that are on the EU sanctions list, market participants say. The transit of goods with non-sanctioned TNVED codes remains possible, as well as the export of goods of Turkish origin to Russia.
According to the Turkish partners of Russian logistics companies, the customs blockade was introduced at the level of the Turkish Central Customs Administration in Ankara, and the reason for it was “serious pressure from the Europeans” who are trying to stop transit through Turkey to Russia. Moreover, the issue was recently raised by the EU sanctions emissary. In practical terms, this is more a matter of execution: Turkey is in a customs union with the EU, they have a single customs system in which transit is visible.
Official explanations from the customs can not even be expected, the industry is sure: to give them means to admit that goods were transported through Turkey in transit, bypassing the sanctions. In general, such a turnover was expected, and the way out is approximately clear: complete customs clearance in Turkey and re-export to Russia as a product of Turkish origin. Several Kommersant interlocutors are sure that Turkey wants both to maintain the role of a hub for Russia and to cash in even more on transit: “They want VAT and other duties and fees on operations.”
Full customs clearance is the most expensive scheme. It means that the cargo will generally rise in price by no less than Turkish VAT (18%) and will be delayed in transit for several days. For about so many years, deliveries through Turkey to Iran worked – about how the country still survived under forty years of sanctions, The Bell wrote here . “Local analysts gave forecasts from six months to a year before we come to the need to clear goods, and, in fact, Turkey will earn even more from this,” Yulia Shlenskaya, president of customs and logistics broker KBT, told the publication. Turkish agents are ready to help solve problems, Vedomosti writes.
Turkey’s additional income (and additional costs for Russian importers) can be calculated from an estimate of Russian transit at $200–400 million per month: $0.5–1 billion per year. If Turkey decides to ban exports to Russia as well, it could cause a physical shortage of some items, such as large European brands of home appliances. Importers will have to look for bypasses through the UAE and China when it comes to air freight. For trucks, one of the few alternative routes will remain a ferry to Georgia via the Black Sea.