Russia squeezes Ventspils

  • 2010-09-01
  • From wire reports

RIGA - Decreasing cargo turnover levels at the Port of Ventspils over the past several years is a result of Russia’s political decisions, said Freeport of Ventspils board member and Ventspils Deputy Mayor Didzis Osenieks (For Latvia And Ventspils), reports news agency LETA. The proportion of high value-added products - oil products - is percentage-wise the largest at the Ventspils Port, although handling of oil products has been gradually decreasing due to the decisions being made in Russia. This is what politicians should be discussing in election debates in order to find a way to increase cargo volumes handled at Latvian ports.

Osenieks made the statement in the wake of debates hosted by LNT television on Aug. 23, where two representatives from the Riga Port were invited to take part. Riga Port officials cannot represent all Latvian ports, because the ports have different problems, besides, they often compete with each other, Osenieks stressed.

The statements made by the Riga Port representatives that the port’s cargo volumes had exceeded those in Ventspils were not what the audience should have been told. The increase in cargo volumes at the Riga Port was achieved as a result of increasing coal handling volumes, although coal is a low value-added commodity, and coal accounted for 40 percent of the Riga Port’s total cargo turnover in the January-July period this year, Osenieks said.

Ventspils, on the other hand, has the largest percentage of oil products in its cargo turnover. The continuing decrease in this percentage, which has been due to Russia’s political decisions, is what should have been discussed during the LNT show, Osenieks said.

The Freeport of Ventspils urges LNT to not forget that Riga is not Latvia, and Riga Port cannot represent all the Latvian ports, Osenieks points out.

In the first seven months this year, 15.6 million tons of cargo was handled at the Ventspils Port - 1.5 million tons, or 8.7 percent less, than in the same period last year. Riga Port handled 17.3 million tons of cargo in the first seven months, which is 0.4 percent more than in the same period last year.