Transport Minister: Latvian Railways will need grants to function

The worst-case scenario in the freight sector in Latvia has not yet come true, but the Latvian Railways (LDz) will need grants, Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits told Latvian Television on August 9.

Latvia was preparing for “more serious problems” in the freight sector, but those have not yet occurred. Moreover, compared to last year, there was a 30% increase in freight transport related to transport in the direction of Kazakhstan and work with Uzbekistan, as well as efforts by foreign companies to complete their dealings with Russia.

“So we don't really know exactly how the second half of the year will look. There is a great deal of uncertainty,” Linkaits said.

At the same time, new transport routes are also emerging. For example, the first shipments of cereal products to be exported through Latvian ports have started to come from Ukraine. “For the time being, you can count the cargoes on one hand, but we see this direction,” the minister said. He also pointed to Poland seeking new opportunities to purchase coal cargo, including through Latvian ports.

Although the situation is not the worst, the state will still have to provide grants for Latvian Railways so that the infrastructure can function. Linkaits didn't disclose a specific amount needed, but it would be tens of millions.

“When the war in Ukraine began, it was clear that the railway would be one of those suffering the most. And calculations were made in case of the rise of the iron curtain and the absence of cargo services with our neighbors. The worst has not happened,” Linkaits said.

This week, the Transport Ministry will present the government with scenarios for rail transportation changes.

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