RIGA - It is necessary to wait for recommendations from World Bank experts before reforming the Latvian port management system, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said in an interview with the LNT morning show ‘900 sekundes’ on May 8, reports LETA.
Dombrovskis said the World Bank’s interim report on Latvian ports was presented on May 7, and that the World Bank’s recommendations were expected this summer. The respective ministries will be tasked with drafting models for improving the operations of Latvian ports; however, actual measures will be taken after receiving the World Bank’s recommendations.
The prime minister also noted that the World Bank’s critical comments about Latvian ports are of no surprise - the State Audit Office’s report also revealed problems.
World Bank experts presented their interim report on the competitiveness and management of Latvian ports, addressing several critical comments to Riga and Ventspils freeports. The final report, which will include recommendations on how to improve the situation, will be presented this summer.
In their interim report on Latvian ports, World Bank experts criticize the use of obsolete infrastructure and transit dependence on countries with their own ports. The report states that, despite an increase in cargo turnover last year, the market share of Latvian ports in the region has dropped from 37 to 21 percent over the past 12 years.
The report also draws attention to ship servicing issues. The Freeport of Ventspils plans to modernize its infrastructure. The Freeport of Riga, however, is rather slow at dredging and developing modern cargo terminals.
Assessing the boards of Latvian ports, World Bank experts conclude that their members lack experience in the private sector. In addition, there are no terms of office for local government representatives at these boards. There is also insufficient coordination between Latvian ports and railways.
There are no terms of office for the heads of ports and their performance is not assessed each year. The private sector insufficiently participates in the management of ports. Ventspils businesspeople, however, take part in board sessions, but it is not the case in Riga.