RIGA - In the near future, Belarus could decide on building or buying a bulk or general cargo terminal in Latvia, Belarusian Ambassador to Latvia Aleksander Gerasimenko SAID in an interview with Dienas Bizness, reports Nozare.lv. The volume of goods and services produced in Belarus increases each year, which has an effect on the country’s exports. Therefore Belarus is interested in purchasing infrastructure projects for the purpose of transshipment of its goods, especially oil products. However, such a purchase is now expensive. It must be economically justified and guarantee cargo flows, explained the ambassador.
Belarus is a landlocked country and, depending on tariff offers, it can choose to export its products via Latvian, Lithuanian, Russian or Ukrainian ports. “However, the distance to the sea is the shortest in the direction of Latvia - only 400 kilometers separate our oil refinery Naftan and the Freeport of Riga,” said the ambassador.
Belarus is currently considering six different options in Riga and Ventspils. In a couple of months, it will become clear whether it is worth buying or renting a terminal or constructing a new one. “I would prefer construction of a new terminal in accordance with our regulations and requirements, but this will be decided by a special commission set up by the Belarusian government,” says Gerasimenko.
According to Gerasimenko, this project will most likely be carried out by a joint Belarusian-Latvian venture. The controlling interest will belong to Belarus. Asked about cargo volumes, the ambassador emphasized that Belarus can guarantee two million tons of oil products per year.
Latvia is an important economic and trade partner for Belarus. Latvian-Belarusian trade turnover has grown more than tenfold over the past eight years, adds Gerasimenko. Latvian-Belarusian trade turnover amounted to $3.4 billion in 2012. In the first half of 2013, Latvian-Belarusian trade turnover rose 16.5 percent, compared to the respective period in 2012.