Rīga port cargo grows, plan to double cruise passenger numbers

Rīga Freeport reloaded 36.432 million tonnes of cargo in 2018, which is 8.2 percent more than in 2017, the port reported.

Coal prevailed among the cargo reloaded in the Freeport of Riga in 2018 at 39 percent or 14.22 million tonnes, up 20.8 percent year-on-year. Oil products made up 11.2 percent of all cargo handled in the port last year, down 27.6 percent from the previous year.

In 2017, the Freeport of Riga handled 33.675 million tonnes.

Riga is the largest Latvian port in terms of both cargo turnover and passengers on which subject the port management says it is aiming to double passenger turnover over the next decade.

"The goal is to almost double the number of cruise ships and their passengers, making Riga an important cruise and passenger ferry port in the Baltic Sea Region. While the Port of Riga handled 75 thousand cruise passengers in 2018, it is planned to increase this number to almost 160 thousand by 2030," a release said January 9.

"The use of this potential largely depends on the availability of proper infrastructure. The existing infrastructure of cruise terminals is insufficient. The Riga Passenger Terminal has a good location; however, the length of the pier and the territory for the performance of land operations are limiting factors in satisfying the growing demand of cruise ships. In turn, the Krievu Island terminal, which is currently being used for accepting cruise ships during peak periods, is not suitable for cruise ships due to the long distance from the central part of the city and its unattractive environment," the release adds, before suggesting extensive development of existing facilities nearer the city center.

"By putting this territory in order, cruise passengers will be ensured access to the city center on the right bank. This gives us an opportunity to not only efficiently handle the current flow of cruise ships, which tends to grow, but also to implement an ambitious plan, i.e., to make the Port of Riga a place where cruises both start and end,” said Edgars Sūna, Deputy Manager for Port Development.

"Of course, to implement this plan, both the port and the entire tourism industry must do their homework. The airport, the railway, the public transport and hospitality companies must cooperate to create the best offer possible — from convenient air and transport connections to good guide services in the old city,” Sūna said.

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