In Brief - 2003-01-16

  • 2003-01-16
Tallinn port takes first place

The port of Tallinn became the leading Baltic port in terms of cargo volumes in 2002, while St. Petersburg remained the busiest port in the eastern Baltic Sea region.

The port of Tallinn handled 37.8 million tons of cargo last year, a 17.1 percent increase over 2001, while cargo traffic through the port of St. Petersburg rose by 12 percent to 41.3 million tons. The nearby port of Klaipeda handled 19.7 million tons of cargo last year, a 14.5 percent increase year-on-year, and the Latvian port of Ventspils lost its status as the leading port in the three Baltic countries in 2002 as its annual cargo volume dropped by 24.3 percent to 28.7 million tons.

The sea trade port of Kaliningrad, the largest port in the Russian exclave, boosted its annual cargo volume by 52.4 percent, the sharpest rise among the eastern Baltic Sea ports, to 3.5 million tons. (Baltic News Service)

Latvia cranking up exports

In the first 11 months of last year Latvia's exports to EU countries reached 784.9 million lats (1.27 billion euros), up 9.6 percent year-on-year, according to the Latvian statistics office.

EU imports to Latvia in 11 months last year reached 1.12 billion lats, up 14 percent on the previous year. Latvia's exports to the EU made up 60.4 percent of total exports in 11 months, while EU imports made up 52.9 percent of total.

The most Latvian exports last year went to Germany (15.7 percent), the U.K. (14.5 percent), Sweden (10.5 percent), Lithuania (8.3 percent) and Estonia (6 percent). Imports show a similar picture with Germany in the lead (17.1 percent), followed by Lithuania (9.8 percent), Russia (8.9 percent), Finland (8.1 percent) and Sweden (6.3 percent). (BNS)

Rakvere's output jumps

Production at Rakvere Lihakombinaat (Rakvere Meat Processing Company) climbed 30 percent last year, and the slaughtering volume was up 33 percent, the company announced Jan. 14.

Speaking to reporters, Board Chairman Olle said both domestic sales and exports increased in 2002, with sales of fresh meat growing particularly in Estonia. Sales were supported by an overall increase in private consumption and the fine weather in summer, said Horm.

Because of very intense competition last year, the increase in sales turnover was smaller than growth in output, the CEO explained. Competition in the meat sector will further intensify this year, and one year from now there will be 100-150 meat processors left in Estonia instead of the present 200, Horm said. (BNS)

VP Market sees sales explode

Lithuania's VP Market, operator of the largest retail chain in the Baltic countries, reported annual sales of 881.3 million euros for 2002, a 34.5 percent rise from sales from 2001.

"In the middle of last year, our plans to reach a 3 billion litas [869.6 million euros] turnover were regarded as optimistic. However, as early as in September, the company achieved the 2001 annual sales level. This year, we are planning to surpass the 1 billion litas sales mark," said Ignas Staskevicius, managing director of VP Market, adding that the company achieved growth of sales in all three Baltic countries in 2002.

VP Market opened more than 60 new shopping centers in Lithuania and Latvia last year, with total investments in the chain's expansion coming to about 160 million litas. It has earmarked 300 million litas for investments this year with major projects including the Akropolis shopping and entertainment centers in Kaunas, and the Latvian capital of Riga.

VP Market currently operates a chain of 214 stores in the three countries, including 165 stores in Lithuania, 48 in Latvia, and one in Estonia. (BNS)

Latvia use less mobile phones

Less than 30 percent of the population in Latvia use mobile phones, the lowest indicator among the three Baltic states, while the country ranks tenth among the Central and Eastern European countries by rate of mobile phone penetration.

The Economist reported that the number of mobile phone users in Latvia has grown by 38 percent over 2002, while in Estonia 60 percent of the population uses mobile phones, up 16 percent over the year. In Lithuania mobile phones are used by 40 percent of the population, an 84 percent year-on-year - one of the fastest growth rates in Central and Eastern Europe.

Slovenia leads by mobile penetration rate at 80 percent, along with Czech Republic, which also has 80 percent. These two countries have even left behind West European countries, where some 75 percent of the population use mobile phones. (BNS)

Mazeikiu falls short in 2002

Mazeikiu Nafta (Mazeikiai Oil), Lithuania's sole oil refinery operated by Russia's Yukos, processed 6.5 million tons of crude oil and exported 6.2 million tons of oil via the Butinge terminal during 2002.

The refinery's output was short of targets, despite that Yukos increased the volume of oil refining at the Mazeikiai plant and exports via Butinge in late 2002. The 2002 targets had been set at 6.8 million tons and 7.3 million tons respectively.

In year-on-year terms, oil refining volumes declined by 3.5 percent and export volumes increased by 23.1 percent in 2002, Mazeikiu Nafta reported. The total volume of crude oil and diesel fuel delivered via the company's Birzai oil pipeline came to 23.4 million tons last year, down by 23.5 percent on the same time last year. (BNS)