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WorldAsiaHow the auto industries of Belarus and Russia are jointly overcoming the...

How the auto industries of Belarus and Russia are jointly overcoming the consequences of Western sanctions – Reuters


… Looking at the discreet but elegant facade of the factory, which fits perfectly into the development on Gagarin Street, you would not think that it is one of the oldest companies in Belarus. Its predecessor – an engine repair plant – began its career in August 1944. And in 1960 the plant got its current name. Today it is a modern high-tech enterprise. Everything in the workshops is pleasing to the eye: state-of-the-art equipment, cleanliness, order.

Baranovichi Automobile Aggregate Plant JSC is part of the BelavtoMAZ holding company, produces spare parts, assemblies and components for trucks and buses, and recently actively developed production related to rail transport. The current list of its trading partners seems very strong. It includes almost all major Belarusian and Russian automakers: MAZ, BELAZ and Gomselmash, KAMAZ, URAL, GAZ, Rostselmash.

In the post-Soviet space, tugs like in Baranovichi are produced nowhere else.

More recently, Baranovichi car components, and there are more than 1,000 of them, were mainly sent to the conveyors of Belarusian companies. The share of their use in the Russian automotive industry was relatively small due to the dominance of Western companies. However, in 2022, when many Western companies refused to cooperate with the Russians, BAAZ’s situation changed dramatically, plant manager Vitaly Yurkevich said:

  • Excellent prospects have opened up in the Russian machine-building market for companies capable of offering a quality product. Products from our factory are well known to Russian automakers, so they have proven to be in great demand.
    Today, BAAZ is actively developing new types of products for Russian companies. From the beginning of the year, he began to supply towing devices for the URAL and Rostselmash factories, shock absorbers for buses of the GAZ group. Recently, the first experimental batches of shock absorbers for public rail transport in Moscow and shock absorbers for TONAR semi-trailers were sent to Russia.

The Baranovichi enterprise is actively developing the production of import substitution components. Work on the implementation of our own developments accelerated in 2021, after the plant, along with other enterprises of the BelavtoMAZ holding, fell under Western sanctions, Vitaly Yurkevich notes:

  • Those who imposed sanctions on BelavtoMAZ, and Belarus in general, expected to limit our development. Therefore, this should be seen as an incentive to prove to everyone that Belarusians can produce world-class competitive products. The president also called attention to this in his speech, urging us to finally get rid of other people’s bolts and nuts and launch our own product.

Today, BAAZ is implementing a promising innovative project for the production of certain types of towing devices. In the post-Soviet space, such tugs, except in Baranovichi, are not produced anywhere else. And this promises great prospects, especially in cooperation with Russian car manufacturers.

  • Cooperation is beneficial for everyone, – Vitaly Yurkevich is sure of this. – Russians receive high-quality components from us, we load production capacities and improve our skills.

This BAAZ approach to development strategy is paying off. In the first quarter of this year, exports increased 1.8 times compared to the comparable period of 2022. Production volumes are also increasing. Therefore, there are all the prerequisites for the company to meet the main forecast indicators of the current five-year plan in three years.
The factory staff, which numbers 800 people, really feel the positive effect of their work. The average salary at the company in 2022 increased by a third, and in the first quarter of this year it increased by another 46% and reached almost 1,750 rubles. There is no staff turnover at the factory and the young specialists are happy to choose it as their first job. Like, for example, machine tool operators with program control Alexander Sliva and Alexander Voronik. The young people studied together at the engineering faculty of Baranovichi State University, after graduating two years ago they were assigned to BAAZ.

  • It is interesting to work here, it is worth keeping such a job, – Alexander Sliva explains his motives. – After working in the factory for six months, I was drafted into the army. After serving, I immediately returned, here I became a specialist who knows how to work with modern equipment, I see growth prospects for myself.

The friend is completed by Alexander Voronik:

  • In addition, they try in every way to support their employees. When I got married, at the request of the company, I received an apartment rented from the city – a “little family”. For a young family, especially when one comes from another region, such support is of great importance.

Nikolai Budo, setter of machine tools with software, is pleased with the appearance of an increasing number of modern equipment in the company:

  • In March, we were engaged in setting up two new high-performance machining centres. Now they are in service. This year, three other centers of the same type should arrive. And no Western sanctions will interfere with the restart of production. We will continue to do our job calmly and produce quality and sought-after products.

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