Eesti Energia, the state-owned power firm, will no longer allow its Tallinn clients to pay their electricity bills in cash beginning Jan. 1. Electricity bills can only be paid electronically starting 2003. Those who still wish to pay their electricity bills in cash, can do so in post offices and must pay a commission fee.
The changes are being implemented in order to end long lines in Eesti Energia's service centers, which will free them up for consultation services instead. Additional card terminals will be installed in the service centers for paying electricity bills, but Eesti Energia intends to encourage people to sign agreements that automatically take off the money for electricity bills from bank accounts. (Baltenergy.com)
Ferry takeover completed
After its takeover by Denmark's DFDS Tor Line, Latvian ferry agents Latvijas Linijas, or Latlines, will become a subsidiary of the0Danish company. Latlines president Zigmunds Jankovskis said the negotiations about the takeover had already been completed but some legal paperwork still remained to be done.
Next year Latlines will offer two new passenger and cargo ferries running between Riga and Germany. The ferry Tranparaden, which will have 104 passengers seats, will sail between Riga and Luebeck, while the ferry Mermaid, accommodating 110 passengers, will run to Kiel.
In the first ten months of this year Latlines carried 9,900 passengers, more than double growth since 2001. (Baltic News Service)
Rail traffic soaring
The national railway company Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai carried 32.9 million tons of freight in the first 11 months of this year, according to preliminary data, up by 24.7 percent on the same period in 2001.
The volume of international freight grew by 31.3 percent to 27 million litas (7.83 million euros) in January-November year-on-year, Ausra Spuraite, head of the company's economics service, said. International freight accounted for 82 percent of the total volume of freight carried via Lithuanian railways. (BNS)
The Estonian Finance Ministry said the 0.2 percent fall in consumer prices in November was caused by the fuel retailers' price war.
A fall in the exchange rate of the dollar against the euro and the kroon also had a certain effect on the lowering of consumer prices, but seasonal factors, such as rising prices of vegetables and clothes, did not permit the consumer price index to fall more significantly, the ministry said.
Despite active private consumption, annual growth in consumer prices remains at a relatively low level, the main reason for it being a fall in food prices from last year's highs.
The Finance Ministry said that early next year the year-on-year inflation would be relatively low, as there are no major administrative price rises looming ahead at present and also food prices are not likely to rise. But in connection with hiking import prices, growth in the year-on-year consumer price index is bound to gather speed, the ministry said. (BNS)
Oil terminal after real estate
Ventspils Nafta oil terminal has established subsidiaries that will buy and develop the building of the publishing company Preses Nams and the plot of land beneath it.
Ventspils Nafta, owner of a controlling stake in Preses Nafta, said in a statement that the aim of establishing Darijumu Daugava was to purchase and develop the high-rise building of the publishing company and the land under it, while the aim of Nekustamie Ipasumi is to manage and develop realties owned by the Ventspils Nafta concern.
Financial reports of the two companies will be consolidated in Ventspils Nafta's 2002 annual report. Ventspils Nafta said the effect of the two firms on the company's financials would be insignificant. (BNS)
Holding out for sugar
Lithuanian officials say there is still some possibility of obtaining a higher sugar production quota from the European Union, but they have practically no hope of securing a higher base yield rate.
"If EU member states and current EU president Denmark agree among themselves, it is still possible to improve Lithuania's negotiating position as to the sugar production quota. But it will be very difficult to achieve this ," Vaidotas Asmonas, special attache for agriculture in Brussels, said.
The EU offers a sugar production quota of 103,000 tons per year, whereas Lithuania seeks a quota of at least 120,000 to 122,000 tons. Lithuania's original request was for 165,000 tons annually. (BNS)
Shepherds angry with EU
The Estonian Sheep Breeding Association has sent a message to the government in which it calls the sheep quota offered by the EU to Estonia insultingly small, as the quota fails to satisfy even domestic demand.
"Estonia has been asking for a new sheep farming quota of 142,000 sheep, also bringing sufficient reasons for the necessity of such a quota. The EU negotiators have, without argumentation, offered just 48,000 sheep as the new quota instead of the earlier offer of 27,000," the message said.
"Although the quota was increased to 48,000, it fails by far to meet Estonia's domestic demand, not to speak of possible sales in the EU," it said. "The attitude of EU officials toward the modest Estonian wish to have a quota of 142,000 sheep is insulting." (BNS)