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GP: City Case Study on Transport in Minsk - Belarus PDF Print E-mail

Transport in Minsk and its problems

Minsk is situated on the strategic European crossroad between East and West and is the most important international road connection between Baltic and Black Sea regions countries. All European transportation corridors cross Minsk and Belarus: Berlin-Warsaw-Brest-Minsk-Moscow, Baltic States-Minsk-Ukraine. This provides Belarus and Minsk with favorable conditions for the development of road transport and its infrastructure. In addition transport infrastructure of Belarus is transshipment oriented. Minsk, Brest, Baranovichy, Luninets, Zhabinka are the biggest railway junctions in Belarus with transshipping facilities at the border crossings. Container terminals are available in Baranovichy Tsentralnye, Brest Severny and Pinsk.
Pipelines transport is also crossing Belarus.

The public transport in Minsk includes bus, trolleybus, tram and subway connections (Metro).
Construction of the Metro has been started in 1997. At present there are three main lines and picturesque metro stations, which are unique works of Belarusian architecture devoted to Belarusian history and culture.

The principal problems in transport use and transport services in Minsk could be summarized as follows:
• Public transport system is not satisfactory: traffic capacity of many roads and streets in Minsk, especially during rush hours is not enough to provide a required flow of transport vehicles, which results in congestions on main roads;

• Road safety requires considerable improvements: there are still numerous accidents occurring in the city;

• Old fleet of private and public transport vehicles: for example, the share of public buses with more than 10 years of age is 52.5%;

• Old fleet problem creates an air pollution problem in the city and outside;

• Equipment used for providing automatic management and control of city traffic, at many points is obsolete (out of date);

• Sharp growth of fleet of private cars results in lessening of public transport users, slowing down public transport’s speed, congestions on the roads, reducing road safety and increase of pollutants into atmosphere in the city.


Overview of Transport System in Belarus and Minsk and its Impact on the Environment

Transport use

Transport system in Belarus includes railway, road, air, waterway (river) and pipelines mode of transport. Minsk city’s transport is divided into public and private vehicles.
Buses, trolley buses, trams and Metro are used as the means of public transport in Minsk.

Railway transport is used for communications between Minsk and other cities in Belarus as well as with other European countries. It includes passenger and freight transport. Minsk is one of the biggest and important railway junctions. The main electrified railway is between Brest-Minsk-Moscow which provides passenger and freight train service with 160km/h and 100 km/h accordingly.

In 2004 the railway freight transport turnover was 92.7%, of total turnover of all modes of transport in the Republic of Belarus, it means that 92.7% of freight was carried by rail Grodno and Brest railway junctions provide all transferring facilities and equipment to adapt different track gauges for trains going to Western Europe. There is a large park of containers at these border points.
The Minsk crossing Belarusian Railways jointly with Railways of neighboring countries arrange transportation of goods by container trains from and to Western Europe, Baltic countries, Russia, as well as from and to South Korea, China and Japan maritime ports.

Road transport is the most important mode of transport in Belarus and Minsk.
Road freight:
In 2005 in the Republic of Belarus:
- About 177,000 trucks were in operation;

- About 108,500 (61.3%) trucks are owned by several transport companies of various categories;

- About 68,500(38.7%) trucks were privately owned;

- In 2005 road freight turnover was about 7.0% of total turnover of all modes of transport in the Republic of Belarus, it means that about 7.0% of freight was carried by road;

- Transit road freight traffic from more than 50 states crossing Belarus play important role in its economy.

Freight transportation is carried out mostly by public companies. Privatization of state-owned companies is not promoted. The existing regulations on the import of heavy trucks are unfavorable for private companies which enforces them to suspend their activity (for example, in 2004 by 13%).

Passenger road transport:
-About 4.3 million passengers are served by road transport per day (average);

-About 48,000 runs are made per day;

-There are 38 bus terminals, 110 bus stations, and 115 bus booking offices;

-There are 32 bus companies, 89 mixed transport companies and 9 taxi companies that serve passengers;

-Operational activities of the public transport cover 5,826 itineraries, including 1,435-urban, 3467- commuter and intercity and 81 –international lines.

In 2005 road traffic volumes in Minsk accounted for 1863591 thousand passenger km of which: bus-983704.6 (52.8%), troleybus-750859.6 (40.3%), and tram-129026.8 (6.9%). In Minsk passenger traffic vehicles fleet includes 1899 buses, 1002 trolleybuses and 159 trams. It should be noted that almost all passenger vehicles used in Minsk are manufactured at national automobile plants: 1017 (53.6%) buses have deen produced by “MAZ” and “AMAZ”, all trolleybuses (100%) by “Belcommunmash”, “MAZ” and “AMAZ” and 52 (32.7%) trams by “Belcommunmash” (Source: MTC, 2006).

About 90% passengers are carried out by the public transport system: buses/trams/trolley buses owned by the state (national, regional or local authorities or their agencies) and 10% by privately-owned small buses and cars. So far existing financial transport system does not promote the use of private transportation. For example in 2004 operations of private transport companies became more difficult because of stricter permission requirements, the introduction of cash registers and increased import duties for buses.

Inland waterway transport in Belarus is based on navigable rivers: West Dvina, Neman, Berezina, Dniepr, Pripyat and Sozh. Total length of inland waterway is about 2000 km. There are 10 domestic river ports with the facilities for cargo handling. It is used for freight and passenger transportation along the above rivers.
Bug-Pripyat- Dniepr-Black Sea is the international waterway crossing the territory of Belarus.

Air transport is based on three airports in Minsk: two passengers airports (Minsk 1 and Minsk 2) and the cargo airport in Machulishchy. Air fleet includes 14 types of aircraft and 80 airlines connecting of 30 cities of CIS and countries of Europe, America, Asia and Africa, including Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Ireland, Egypt, and Israel etc. The main air company Belavia provides about 90% of passenger services, including all international airlines. The Belavia cooperates with 48 international air companies on the basis if international agreements and operates the foreign modern aircrafts complying with international safety and environmental requirements/standards.

The Transaviaexport Company is carrying out inland transportation of goods and cargo (inside of Belarus) and to the countries of Europe, America, Asia and Africa.

Pipelines. Belarus is a strategic crossing country for transportation of oil and gas from the Russian Federation to Western countries. Pipeline network covers national pipelines for gas transportation inside the country and international pipelines connecting Belarus with Russia, Ukraine and Poland. The length of natural gas pipeline from Russia to Lithuania, Ukraine and West European countries is 1,700 km. There are 6 compressor plants on the territory of Belarus.
The length of crude oil high capacity pipeline from Russia is more than 3,000 km. This pipeline is called Druzhba and has several connections: Kuibishev-Unecha-Mozyr-Brest; Unecha-Polotsk-Mozyr-Brody-Uzhgorod; Polotsk-Ventspils and Surgut-Polotsk.
In 2005 87.7 million tons of Russian oil was transferred by Druzhba oil pipeline to European countries.

Download full report, prepared by Dr. Ivan Narkevitch

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