New Supply Route to Afghanistan

US Transportation Command reached agreement with Lithuania to expand the Northern distribution network into Afghanistan and offer an alternative route to move nonlethal commercial-type cargo, such as construction materials, into that nation, says Brig. Gen. Christopher Bence, deputy director of TRANSCOM’s operations and plans directorate. The agreement adds the Lithuanian seaport of Klaipeda to the network, allowing TRANSCOM-contracted companies to ship cargo from there through Belarus, Russia, and Uzbekistan into Afghanistan, Bence told the Daily Report during a visit to Scott AFB, Ill., earlier this month. Roughly 100 shipping containers reached the port last month and began transiting through Lithuania on Jan. 15, according to a TRANSCOM spokeswoman. “Competition is good,” explained Bence. He added, “As we have expanded different routes, we get better rates . . . and the command also helps the economies of those countries that sign agreements.”