Transportation Ministry delegations recently held talks in Riga on international cargo issues and reached an agreement that Latvia would be granted an additional 1,500 universal permits and 1,500 bilateral permits to carry cargo between Latvia and Russia.
Latvian haulers have already used up nearly all of the 10,000 forwarding permits to Russia that were granted to the Baltic country for this year.
The Latvian delegation, which argued that last year 17,000 permits were used and that transport volumes were growing, wanted another 10,000 permits to secure forwarding through the end of the year.
Russian haulers meanwhile have used only 7,000 permits during the first six months of the year and Russia believes there is no need to increase the number of issued permits.
Latvian officials said that if no more permits were issued, they might apply restrictions to truck transport to Russia.
The Latvian International Truckers Association, meanwhile, voiced hope that the number of hauling permits would be increased. The 3,000 permits pledged by the Russian side are too few for the second half of this year and may affect Latvian companies operating in international forwarding.
At present 870 firms in Latvia are operating in the commercial trucking business and about a third are small companies with fleets of one to five trucks.
It is these companies that will be hurt the most by a fast decrease in the number of permits to Russia because their sales are low and they do not have the necessary funds to invest and quickly reorient themselves toward other markets.
During the talks an agreement was reached to meet Oct. 15-16 in Moscow and return to the issue after the nine-month operational results are compiled.