RIGA - In order to move forward with the port reform, legal issues are currently being sorted, as well as the verdict of the Constitutional Court is being awaited, Minister of Transport Janis Vitenbergs (National Alliance) said in an interview with LETA.
He said that January 1 was the deadline by which the freeports of Riga and Ventspils had to be liquidated and everything transferred to new structures. A new company called Ventas Osta has already been established in Ventspils and the draft order on the establishment of joint-stock company Rigas Osta has been submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers, but it has not yet been adopted.
"There have been uncertainties about how employees would migrate from one structure to another, whether compensation should be paid. There is also the question of the value of the assets. The liquidation commissions are currently assessing how much this property is in both ports and what the financial obligations are to the banks. I have to say it is difficult to judge why work activity has slowed down in recent months and this issue has not been targeted enough," said the minister, adding that it should be taken into account that during the previous Saeima, opposition MPs submitted an application to the Constitutional Court regarding port reform, and in order to move forward, it would be reasonable to wait for the verdict of the Constitutional Court.
Vitenbergs said that in the near future it is planned to initiate a discussion in the coalition about the next steps.
"I see that it will be necessary to request an extension to carry out the mentioned works. I also hope that there will be a verdict of the Constitutional Court soon, so that it is clear whether the road that has been decided is accepted by the Constitutional Court," said the Minister of Transport. He also expressed his confidence that there will not be any huge changes, nor will the day to day activities of port employees or residents of specific municipalities change. "It is a change in the management model to one that exists in a number of European countries, such as the port of Rotterdam," Vitenbergs said.
He pointed out that it is necessary to assess the real amount of assets - real estate, movable property. "There will be a discussion on how to transfer the financial portfolio from the existing port authority to the new capital company," said Vitenbergs, adding that these are legal issues that are currently being worked on.
"I think we will soon in the government decided on a specific deadline where we see an opportunity to implement all of this," Vitenbergs said.