Annual cargo turnover down, passenger numbers up at Riga Port

Last year cargo turnover at the Freeport of Riga dropped 7.5% from 2015 to 37.1 million tons, while the number of passengers grew 3.5% the port said Wednesday.

Cargo

Bulk cargos were reloaded in the amount of 22.4 million tons in 2016, down 3.7% year-on-year. Handling of liquid cargos fell 23.1% to 8.1 million tons. General cargos increased 5.1% year-on-year to 6.5 million tons.

The port administration said that, even though the cargo turnover dropped, it still was the third best turnover in the history of the port, and just in 2014 and 2015 turnovers were higher, when a record large amount of energy resources were handled by the port. Reduction of the coal and oil product cargos affected the port's results in 2016.

At the same time, it is a positive fact that handling of other cargos increased by 4.6%, gradually diversifying and balancing reloading of different cargos at the Riga port, and reducing dependence on Russian transit ports.

"Considering the geopolitical situation, the situation in the world markets and drop of cargo handling in the region, operations of the Riga port were successful in 2016," said Riga Freeport board chairman Andris Ameriks (Honor to Serve Riga).

More than half or 59.4% of reloaded bulk cargo was coal. In 2016 handling of coal cargos reached 3.3 million tons. Coal was shipped to 22 ports from Riga. The next big bulk cargo group was mineral fertilizers, reaching 2.8 million tons, which is the highest annual turnover of thus type of cargo in the history of the port. In 2016 there was also a new record registered for grain cargos - 1.3 million tons, up 23.6% from 2015.

Increase in the handling of general cargos is related with positive results of container cargos. In 2016 as many as 385,900 TEU units of container cargos were shipped through the port, which is by 8.6% more than in 2015. There were also positive results for ro-ro cargos and metals - by 5.3% and 48.9% more respectively.

At the same time, 99% of liquid cargos were oil products, and drop of handling of these cargos affected the whole segment.

In December 2016, the port reloaded 3.7 million tons of cargos, up 27.6% from November, and it is the best monthly turnover in 2016. The main reason for growth is increase in handling of coal cargos - to 1.6 million tons in December, which also is the largest monthly turnover of coal in the history of the port.

In 2015, cargo handling reached 40.056 million tons, down 2.5% from 2014.

Previously port boss Andris Ameriks told LTV that the projected decline, steep as it may be, is actually less than expected. 

Passengers

The number of passengers served at the Riga port reached 581,601 last year, growing 10.5% compared to 2015, the port said.

Last year the Riga port received 71,420 cruise ship passengers, up 3.5% from the previous year.

" 2016 was successful for the Riga port in terms of passengers. The number of passengers has risen both on the Tallink ferry line and cruise ships/ In December the Riga port received another cruise ship, thus a total of 63 cruise ships visited the Riga port last year," the Riga Freeport administration reported.

The port's representatives said in December a second ferry started running on the Riga Stockholm route, and ferries will be running daily on the route instead of every other day as previously. Thus, also this year the number of passengers served by the Riga port will grow.

In 2015, the Riga port served nearly 1.858 million passengers or 7.3% less than in 2014.

Riga Freeport is the largest Latvian port by the turnover of both cargo and passengers.

Economy
Economy