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Riga mayor says Latvia should remain transit country for Russia

December 02, 2016, 16:25 UTC+3 RIGA

The volume of cargo passing through the port of Latvia’s capital of Riga has plummeted due to the decrease in the transit of Russian goods

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© Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

RIGA, December 2. /TASS/. The volume of cargo passing through the port of Latvia’s capital of Riga has plummeted due to the decrease in the transit of Russian goods, Riga’s Mayor and Port Board Member Nil Ushakov said in an interview with TASS.

"The rate of decline is ten percent, cargo volume has dropped from 30 mln to 27 mln tonnes. On the one hand, the reason is that during warmer winters the demand for coal declines. But on the other hand, this comes as a result of Russia’s political decision which I believe is not aimed at damaging Latvia but at ensuring Russian ports’ advantages. Since Russia has its own ports, it’s only logical that it will make political decisions to benefit themselves," Ushakov explained.

The goal of the Freeport of Riga and the Latvian Railways is to retain "some volumes of the Russian cargo" by introducing competitive tariffs and improving their service, the mayor added. "We will struggle to make the Freeport of Riga the best as far as competitive capabilities go," he stressed. "Russia has a huge economy so when the crisis is over there will be enough cargo and goods for everyone. Our goal is to position the Riga port in the forefront," he resumed.

Head of Russia’s Transneft oil company Nikolai Tokarev said earlier that the company would have stopped to use the Baltic states’ ports for oil products exports by 2018. According to him, the company will start using Russia’s ports of Ust-Luga, Primorsk and Novorossiysk instead of the Baltic states’s ports of Ventspils and Riga.

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