Latvian port cargo turnover saw sharp drop in 2023

Latvian port cargo turnover in 2023 was 9.4 million tonnes, which is 19.6% less than in 2022, according to statistics compiled by the Ministry of Transport (SM) January 22.

The Ministry said the drop in turnover was due to changes in the geopolitical situation, mainly related to sanctions directed against Russia. At the same time, several cargo segments show an increase in volume.

The decrease in total cargo turnover in 2023 was mainly influenced by the decrease in coal and oil product cargo volume.

Coal cargoes have more than halved – by 56% or 4.7 million tonnes, which is related to the decrease in demand for coal imports into Europe. The turnover of petroleum products continues to shrink rapidly, down 48.4% or 3.8 million tonnes from a year ago.

The decrease was observed also in the bulk goods sector by 21.1%, in the bulk liquid goods turnover by 47.2%, while in the general cargo segment, the decrease was 6%.

The turnover of cereal cargoes has risen rapidly: it has increased by 14%, as well as the volume of container cargoes has increased by 7.4%.

18.8 million tonnes were transhipped in Riga port in 2023. Compared to 2022, cargo volume decreased by 20.1% or 4.7 million tonnes. 

In 2023, the total cargo volume in Liepāja port was 7.2 million tonnes, 4.9% lower than in 2022. 

Last year's statistics in Ventspils port show that 10.4 million tons of cargo were transhipped in total, which is 29.3% less than a year ago. 

Latvia's small ports have shown a positive trend in 2023, maintaining stable total cargo turnover and handling 2.2 million tons in total.

The SM noted that ports continue to seek and find new solutions for business development.

“The current situation in ports should be accepted by the industry as a platform for upward change. It should be seen as an opportunity for strategic development, attracting new markets as well as providing new logistics services to customers. For example, there are clear opportunities to compete for the flow of US and Far East freight to Central and Eastern Europe. [..] With the drop in cargo turnover, I am convinced that all ports will use their potential for growth, also developing high added value production and improving the channels for the circulation of goods,” said Transport Minister Kaspars Briškens (Progressives).

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