NATO seeks cheaper alternative to Russian transport hub – official

To use Russia

From RT:  Deputy secretary general of NATO Alexander Vershbow told newspaper Kommersant Daily that transporting coalition cargo through a major logistics base in the Russian city of Ulyanovsk appeared to be too expensive. Vershbow added that though the technical aspects of the project had already been agreed upon and coordinated, the costs were proving too prohibitive.

Vershbow added that prices for military transport must be competitive, as these operations were akin to a commercial business. If Russia were to make a worthy offer, NATO would consider restoring the deal, he suggested.

The official said that NATO was currently studying more financially attractive transport routes, including the reopening of a Pakistani hub that was closed in 2011 over security concerns. However, he did not rule out the possibility of further cooperation, such as opening a NATO transport center in one of Russia’s Baltic Sea ports.

From the Bug Pit:  This more or less confirms previous speculation that cost was behind the slow start to operations at Ulyanovsk. This may not be anyone’s fault in particular — NATO officials tried to set up a whole network of redundant routes so that if one failed, others would be able to easily fill in. But now that Pakistan is back on board, Uzbekistan is still proving a reliable partner (at least on this front) there is no real need for Ulyanovsk. Remember, to use Russia’s facility coalition members would first have to fly their equipment from Afghanistan to Ulyanovsk, and the longer you fly the more expensive the route is. That’s why fully overland routes via Pakistan or Uzbekistan, or routes involving shorter flights, for example to Navoi (Uzbekistan) or Shymkent (Kazakhstan) are more attractive.  (graphic: Hurriyet)

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