Latvian rail freight from Russia expected to drop substantially

In the worst-case scenario in Latvia, rail freight transport from Russia will shrink by 85%. The impact of sanctions against Russia on freight transport will be seen within a month, Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits told Latvian Radio on March 9.

Looking at freight transport by Latvian railway, the impact of sanctions against Russia introduced by Western countries is not yet visible. There was a slight increase in cargo volumes in February.

“There is some inertia that existing shipments are still being shipped to suppliers. Shippers are trying to get these loads out of Russia and Belarus and deliver them to the final customers as soon as possible,” Linkaits said.

The sanctions imposed against Russia are gradually coming into force. The Minister estimated that the impact on the Latvian railway will be seen in about a month. This applies to coal, general cargo, and import cargo. In the worst case, the “iron curtain on the border between Latvia and Russia” should be taken into account, which could mean a reduction in transport by 82-85%, Linkaits said.

This will also affect the work of ports in freight transport. The decrease is estimated to be two-thirds in Ventspils port, 45% in Riga port, and 12% percent in Liepājas port.

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