Is Estonian transit sector in trouble after the EU accession and sanctions against Russia? A qualitative study of transit flows

Information
Title: Is Estonian transit sector in trouble after the EU accession and sanctions against Russia? A qualitative study of transit flows
Issue: Vol. 13, No 2, 2020
Published date: 06-2020 (print) / 06-2020 (online)
Journal: Journal of International Studies
ISSN: 2071-8330, eISSN: 2306-3483
Authors: Viljar Veebel
Baltic Defense College, Tartu, University of Tartu, Tartu

Raul Markus
Tallinn University of Technology
Keywords: Russia, European Union, Estonia, economic transit
DOI: 10.14254/2071-8330.2020/13-2/16
DOAJ: https://doaj.org/article/10566c9338124f88906cc74ffffb609e
Language: English
Pages: 224-241 (18)
JEL classification: F10, F20, P40
Website: https://www.jois.eu/?614,en_is-estonian-transit-sector-in-trouble-after-the-eu-accession-and-sanctions-against-russia-a-qualitative-study-of-transit-flows
File https://www.jois.eu/files/16_13_819_Veebel_Markus.pdf
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Abstract

The article investigates the reasons why transit flows have been volatile in Estonia during 2000-2018. Based on academic literature, the authors identify the following potential factors: the effect of the EU accession, EU-Russian economic sanctions; changes in the transit volume of oil products; changes in local infrastructure in Estonia; dynamics of political and economic relations with Russia; changes in market demand and Estonia’s inability to react and adjust to global trends; the development plan of Russian ports; dynamics of railway infrastructure charges in Estonia; unilateral nature of Estonia’s transit flows; changes in competitiveness of the Estonian transit sector; changes in container transit in Estonia, and changes in the value added in the transit corridor of Estonia. To assess the impact of these factors, a qualitative survey was conducted among the companies operating in the Estonian transit sector and the local experts in transit-related issues. The survey shows that next to Russia’s influence, other factors have also played a significant role. These are, e.g., the reorientation/restructuration of the Estonian transit sector, the impact of potential changes in local infrastructure, and the inability to identify long-term consequences of various policy measures imposed by its neighbours, or to estimate the outcome of other measures, such as the EU-Russian sanctions imposed during the Ukrainian conflict.

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