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18 Feb 2015

Latvia interested in increasing transshipment of Belarus’ cargo via Riga port

MINSK, 18 February (BelTA) – Latvia is ready to create all the necessary conditions to expand the transshipment of oil products from Belarus via Freeport of Riga, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Latvia to Belarus Mihails Popkovs told BelTA.

The government is ready to offer favorable regulatory terms whenever it can. This pertains to tariffs for railway services, the diplomat said.

Belarus and Latvia signed a memorandum of cooperation in logistics at the last session of the intergovernmental commission for trade, economic and cultural cooperation in December 2014. “The session was different from the previous ones, because we managed to make our cooperation more specific. This pertains to the transshipment of liquid products (mainly, oil products) from Belarus via Freeport of Riga,” Mihails Popkovs said. A dramatic increase in cargo flow from Belarus is also a possibility. Freeport of Riga might build up its capacities with a view to increasing the volume of liquid products transshipped via the port.

When asked to be more specific about the amount of cargo that might be transshipped via Freeport of Riga, Mihails Popkovs noted: “I would not want to discuss specific figures, because the governments of Belarus and Latvia have just agreed to undertake certain steps, while the agencies concerned will do their best to materialize these plans, both in terms of regulations and tariffs for railway services”.

Taking part in the project to expand cooperation with Freeport of Riga are Belarusian Oil Company and Latvian private stevedoring companies.

Freeport of Riga is one of Latvia’s biggest ports and an important transportation hub in the Baltic Sea. The Freeport of Riga's terminals have annual loading capacity for 45 million tonnes of cargo. 32 stevedoring companies and 35 shipping agencies operate at the port. The bulk of cargoes transshipped via the port include metals, wood, coal, mineral fertilizers, chemical products, oil and food products.

According to the Latvian Embassy, in 2013 the cargo coming from Belarus (including oil products, timber, mineral fertilizers and peat) accounted for about 6% of all the cargo handled by the port. Oil products made up 28% of Belarusian cargo.

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