Sanctions hit shipping and trucking sectors despite good year for cargo

Cargo turnover at Latvia’s ports increased by more than 5% over the previous year in 2014, but countervailing sanctions between the EU and Russia have hit coal turnover at Ventspils Port, as well as Latvia’s international trucking companies very hard, the Transport Ministry told national information agency LETA after a meeting of the Logistics Sector Council Thursday.

Major losses at Latvia’s international trucking companies were mostly due to Russia's embargo on food imports from the EU.

At its meeting the Logistics Sector Council decided to analyze options for balancing out rail cargo transport and infrastructure costs, which would also improve the competitiveness of the Ventspils Port.

The sector trade group’s members also agreed that the transport and logistics industry should be more active in finding new cooperation partners and new cargo to be transported from Central Asia - Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and that a special task force for cooperation with countries in the region would assist the industry in this regard.

Likewise, representatives from the transport and logistics industry should use every opportunity to participate in top state officials' foreign visits and try to be represented at international transport and logistics fairs in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China and Germany, where Latvia is planning to participate this year.

As reported, cargo turnover at Latvian ports increased by 5.2% to 74.18 million tons last year, compared to 2013.

Riga Port handled 41.08 million tons of cargo in 2014, 15.8% more than in 2013. Ventspils handled 26.2 million tons, an 8.9% reduction, the Port of Liepaja - 5.3 million tons, a 9.5% increase.

Bulk cargo made up the largest part of cargo turnover at Latvian ports in 2014 - 35.85 million tons, followed by liquid cargo - 26.53 million tons, and general cargo - 11.8 million tons.

The lowest increase was registered in general cargo turnover - 1.1%. Bulk cargo turnover registered a 1.9% increase, liquid cargo turnover - 12.1%.

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