Russia refuses the goods in Latvia

Last week, the small concern in Latvia caused the message usually credible news Agency Reuters that Russia, for unknown reasons, 90% reduced the volume of cargo transported by rail in Ventspils and Riga ports. The Chairman of the Board of the port of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs hastened to declare, that Latvia, having refused from participation in the project “Northern stream-2”, have secured economic damage of approximately 100 million euros.

However, it seems that the perplexity and dissatisfaction of the Russian companies about false reports Reuters was even more. The leadership of “Russian Railways” (RZD) on the reduction of traffic is not known, as the Latvian side, headed by Prime Minister Maris Kuchinskis. The volumes handled through the ports of goods does not indicate this.

As pointed out Kuchinskis Tuesday in the transfer of LTV-1 Rīta Panorāma (“Morning panorama”), he delivered the message is not true, because on may 25, the volume of goods from Russia, according to preliminary data of the Ministry of communications, even increased by 15.3% compared to the previous year. “For objective reasons, may have disappeared coal, because over the heating season. Other unanticipated downturns no,” said Kuchinskis, adding that there was a meeting with the head of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov, which has not confirmed the said rumors about expressing their surprise. However, the Prime Minister stressed that this does not mean that Russians don’t change their strategy. Russia has long wanted to use its ports, but over the years proven that with this plan, things have Russian are not very good.

Handled more than hoped

Partially confirmed given the foregoing, the Freeport of Riga performance. Via Riga in may, according to preliminary data, handled 2.5 million tonnes of cargo (this figure will be higher after counting all the data in may — ed.) approximately 400 000 tons less than in April. In April was also a slight decline compared to March, but be aware that during four months of 2017 handled much more cargo than hoped. Meanwhile, a slight decline of the Riga free port looks cool. Besides, now we can expect a reduction of traffic as because of the seasonality, and the annual maintenance on the Railways of Latvia and Russia. Ventspils free port is not shared estimated data for may, but the decline is likely, and expected there. However, not so dramatic, as reported by Reuters. Unfortunately, more detailed explanation from the Chairman of the Board of the port of Ventspils Aivars Lemberg could not be obtained. Previously Lembergs at his weekly press conference said that in may the amount received from the Russian goods fell by 40%, and attributed this to the refusal of the government of Latvia to support the project “Nord stream-2” in Ventspils. Lembergs, in particular, believes that in this way Latvia will lose 100 million euros. However, it is not clear where the mayor of Ventspils received the following number. None of the other respondents LA experts linked the Latvian decision on the “Nord stream-2” with the decline in cargo, the Russian side about it didn’t say anything.

And about the future of the Kuchinskis has expressed confidence, noting the absence of signs of that in the near future something can change. However, you cannot rely on Russian goods, which currently constitute 75% of the total. “That is why the Minister of transport Uldis augulis will go to Germany, visited the forum in China and is looking for alternative sources of income to reduce risks,” — said the Prime Minister. The representatives of Ventspils and Riga ports did not wish to comment on the possible volume of cargo handled by rail in June.

In Liepaja, all is quiet

In the media appeared information that the Railways allegedly failing those Russian companies who want to direct the export of grain by rail through the ports of Latvia. Transshipment of Russian grain in Latvia, mainly engaged in the Liepaja port. The representative of the Liepaja special economic zone League Ratniece-Kadege said that the port is no change at the moment, but added that the situation is ambiguous, as against Russia anything never know. “In April, the grain we had a growth of 40% and load ports for four months was 20 percent in comparison with last year,” said Ratniece-Kadege.

Not the agreed goods

Only the President of “Baltic Association — transport and logistics” Inga’antan in an interview with LA still indicates that the concerns have a basis. For unknown reasons, the Russian side agreed volume of goods, so in April the figures were less than they could be, and this continued in may. “We asked for significantly large amounts. For some reason — I don’t know. The reasons may be several, but it is clear that the Reuters numbers do not correspond to reality,” said Antao. She did not agree with Lemberg, obazavil it with the project “Northern stream-2”. The decision of the government of Latvia on the “Nord stream-2” appeared later approval of goods. The’antan, stressed that the Latvian ports can handle much more cargo, and from Russia there is a demand and interest, but must go through approval.

In turn, the Executive Director of the Latvian ports Association Karlis leiskalns said that the grounds for talking about a reduction of goods is always there, because Russia has already formulated its policy: the emphasis on the increase in the transshipment of goods through its ports. But some circumstances do not allow you to do this, and everything remains as before. And now no Railways, no ports of Latvia a huge decline there. “For alarm no reason, and nothing to indicate any sharp downtrend. Russia is not against transit business of Latvia. If the Russians want to make a political decision, we all about it from hear,” said Laskaris. He also believes that the rumors associated with the project “Northern stream-2”, but at the same time does not understand why the state intervenes in private business, in which, besides Russia, is also involved, for example, Germany.

In Russia, the shock more than in Latvia

Reuters has surprised the Ministry of communications and Latvijas dzelzceļš (Latvian railway, LDz). LDz representative Maris Ozols emphasized that last week Latvia was visited by the adviser of the President of Russia Igor Levitin, who met with the Minister of transport Uldis Augulis. During the meeting they discussed cooperation between the two countries in the field of transportation, particularly in the development of international transport corridors. In June, Sochi will host the forum “Strategic partnership 1520″ on which the presidents of the Railways of Latvia and Russia will discuss the issues of transportation,” said Ozols.

More sharp in his comments was the representative of the Ministry of transport Aivis Freidenfelds, who advised the rumor to be friends with common sense, this applies in particular to the Inga’antan, because such statements harm the transit industry, does not in any way improving the situation. “The head of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov on the TV channel “Russia-24″ said that the Reuters story is false, and noted that it addressed some of the disgruntled businessmen”, — said Freidenfelds. According to him, a small reduction in cargo that’s okay, because in Germany and in other European countries over a cold, and no one will use thermoelectrically unnecessarily. The freidenfelds shared with LA prepared by the officer of the Ministry of messages of Latvia in Moscow press review in connection with the information Reuters. The survey shows that in Russia to this message drew little attention, and there it, too, was like thunder from a clear sky. Representatives of the Russian side, for example, carriers of grain and the coal exporters have noted the advantages of the Latvian transport infrastructure and logistics in comparison with the ports of Russia.