Port takeover reform backed by Latvian Saeima

On Tuesday, February 13, the Saeima supported amendments to the Law on Ports, which provides for the state takeover of the management of Latvia's largest ports. 

The largest ports of Latvia -- Rīga and Ventspils -- will be transformed into State capital companies. It is planned that the new legal structure of Riga and Ventspils ports could start operating from the middle of next year. However, in the special economic area of Liepājas port, the reform is planned to be carried out later.

The law aims to ensure the political independence of ports. In the current port management model, both national and local governments are directly involved in decision-making, as they delegate representatives to the board and the board is the highest decision-making body.

The transitional rules of the Law require the Cabinet (MK) and the Riga municipality to take a decision on the establishment of a capital company for the management of Riga port by September 1 this year. The State will invest property and assets belonging to the Riga Free Port Authority, but the Riga municipality - the property and assets belonging to it, which had been transferred to the Riga Free Port Authority until now.

It is also stated that until September 1, the State invests in the capital of AS Ventas Port and the assets belonging to the Ventspils Free Port Authority and, if an agreement is reached with Ventspils Municipality regarding its participation in the capital company, Ventspils Municipality invests the property and assets belonging to it, which until now had been transferred to the possession of Ventspils Free Port Authority.

In both capital companies, the State will own not less than 60% and the municipality will own no more than 40% of its capital shares. The shareholders will enter into a shareholder agreement to determine and clarify the rights and obligations of the shareholders in relation to the joint management of the capital company.

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