• 2001-11-08
PORT FOR SALE: Owners of the northern port of Paldiski, a coastal town situated some 45 km. to the west of the Estonian capital of Tallinn, are weighing the possibility of selling the port area for more than 170 million kroons ($9.8 million), an Estonian daily reported on Nov. 5. The plan may be the result of lacking freight flows and unwillingness on the part of owners to make additional investments, Eesti Paevaleht said. "I've heard that the owners want to give away the north port," said Joel Tammeka, manager of the Paldiski southern port owned by the state company Port of Tallinn. Tammeka said that in comparison with the southern port, which was doing well and for which freight flows posed no problem, the port situated to the north was in a rather different situation. "When there's no movement of freight one can't make investments," he said. Rein Pinn, board chairman of Paldiski Sadamate AS which runs the northern port, admitted to the newspaper that cargo flows were almost non-existent at the moment. The chairman of the supervisory council of the port company meanwhile denied plans to sell the port. "There have been parties interested in buying, but nothing more," Council Chairman Tiit Maidre said.

ROLLING STOCK FACTORY'S COMEBACK: The recently renovated Rigas Vagonbuves Rupnica's train plant has completed work on its first large international order, repairing a Belarus railroad diesel train, the company reported. The total train renovation project costs amounted to some $1 million. RVR performed full repairs on a Belarus railroad diesel locomotive and six train cars, thus extending the train's operating life by 15 years. The working life of new trains of this kind is about 26 years, but buying them would cost significantly more. RVR Director Lazars Raizbergs said the plant's performance reaffirmed it had overcome the crisis that had lasted for years and was rapidly expanding production capacity by restoring old contacts and know-how. RVR was created out of Rigas Vagonu Rupnica, which was declared insolvent in 1998. The company was acquired last fall by the company Vairogs M and the Latvian-Russian joint venture Severstallat. The company's share capital is 25,250 lats ($40,725). RVR has technical equipment, production capacity, infrastructure and specialists qualified for the renovation of rolling stock and production of new diesel trains, electric trains and streetcars.

CV-ONLINE GOES LOCAL: The Estonian recruitment company CV-Online will Dec. 1 close the Pan-European recruitment and career portal it opened last fall, giving fierce competition on the Western labor market as the reason. CV-Online informed its clients that the business idea of providing people of East and Central European countries with an opportunity to enter the Western labor market is no longer realistic, and because of this the firm will close its Web site, the online version of the daily Eesti Paevaleht reported. Juri Kaljundi, one of the founders of CV-Online, said a few IT people have relocated in Ireland, Britain and Germany with the help of CV-Europe. "An ad works better if it's posted on a local Web site," he said. The firm's six local labor exchange pages mediating job offers in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland will stay open. Kaljundi said CV-Online will from now on focus on those markets. CV-Online announced the launching of the Pan-European recruitment and career portal in September 2000. The site was connected to all its local Internet sites throughout Europe. The firm said in its press release its aim was to become the leading business in this field in Europe.

OUTRUNNING ESTONIA: Lithuania's industry grew at a more rapid pace than Estonia's in the first nine months of this year and showed a slower monthly decline in September than that of Estonia. The Lithuanian Statistics Department announced on Nov. 5 that Lithuania's total industrial sales edged down by 0.2 percent in September compared to August, while Estonia's industrial sales fell by 2.6 percent over the same period. In the first nine months of 2001 compared with the same period a year ago, industrial sales were up by 6.6 percent in Lithuania, and 2.1 percent in Estonia. The statisticians did not announce Latvia's industrial sales figures for September or the first nine months of this year. Lithuania recorded the highest producer price index among the three Baltic states last month. In September versus August, producer prices rose by 0.8 percent in Lithuania, and 0.6 percent in Estonia. In Latvia, producer prices shrank by 0.2 percent month-on-month. In September versus the same period a year ago, producer prices fell by 3 percent in Lithuania, but were up by 1.9 percent and 3.6 percent in Latvia and Estonia respectively.

FACELIFT: Next year will see the reconstruction of the northern part of the Lithuanian seaport of Klaipeda and a deepening of the port's entrance to 14 meters. These projects are estimated to attract the bulk of investment. A draft investment project for 2002 was presented at the meeting of the seaport development council in Klaipeda on Oct. 30. Kestutis Bartkevicius, head of the port authority, said in a news conference that about 154 million litas ($38.5 million) will be invested in the port's infrastructure next year. Priority will be given to the reconstruction of the northern part of the seaport. The port's central and southern parts will also see some renovation: a cruise vessels terminal and fishing wharf will be built, the port's railway network will be repaired and a number of quays will be rebuilt. Lithuanian Transportation Minister Zigmas Balcytis said in a news conference that the reconstruction has to be completed in two to three years, otherwise the port will become unattractive to visitors. The port authority earned 254 million litas in revenues in the first nine months of this year, of which 191 million litas have already been spent. Some 112 million litas were invested in the port's infrastructure.