1.4 million tonnes of manganese ore went to Russia through Latvia in 2023

In 2022, 1.2-1.3 million tonnes of manganese ore were transported by rail in transit through Latvia to Russia, 1.4 million tonnes in 2023, and slightly less than 100 thousand tonnes of manganese ore in the first months of this year, Latvian Television's "What is happening in Latvia/Kas notiek Latvijā" program reports.

Rinalds Pļavnieks, Chairman of the Board of Latvian Railways, said that in 2022 approximately 75% of the total volume was transported by state-owned LDz cargo.

“In 2023, they maintained about 6%, the rest of the volume continued to be carried by private carriers,” said Pļavnieks.

Four stevedoring companies working in the port of Rīga and three stevedoring companies working in the port of Ventspils have engaged in transshipment of manganese ore, said Jānis Kasalis, Member of the Council of the Association of Latvian stevedoring companies.

As for the recipients of these transit cargoes in Russia, he said neither the true beneficiaries of these companies nor the companies themselves are on the sanctioned persons lists. “Consequently, we do not feel guilty that we should somehow explain ourselves,” Kasalis says.

The representative did not wish to name specific recipients of cargo in Russia, but said that ferroalloys are produced from manganese ores supplied through Latvia, which are then transported from Russia to other countries.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Board of Latvian Railways Pļavnieks said that the Chelyabinsk electrometallurgy plant was one of the recipients of manganese ore cargoes in Russia. He said that the plant in question was one of Russia's largest alloy producers.

“They have certainly had cooperation with various Russian state bodies. I think large companies do not exist in Russia without such cooperation,“ said Pļavnieks.

According to the Estonian newspaper Postimees, about 90% of the total 2 million tonnes of manganese ore imported to Russia last year was transported through Latvia and Estonia using both ports and railways.

Customs data compiled by the State Revenue Service at the request of “What is happening in Latvia?” show that more than 1.4 million tons of manganese ore came from Latvia last year.

"Manganese ore is not subject to the control of goods of strategic importance nor is it included in the relevant annexes to the Sanctions Regulation (goods banned from export to Russia). Laws and regulations currently do not prohibit the export of goods to Russia. In the case of shippers and consignees, information on shippers and consignees is assessed on a case-by-case basis. So far, no violations have been detected,” the VID noted.

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