The Latvian transit dramatically loses its positions in the region. As yet in 2015 the Latvian Railways carried reverential 55,645 million. In particular, over 47 M tons of cargo proceeded to Latvian ports from abroad.
This year 2016 started with a 20% fall. In general, at the maximum traffic capacity of the Latvian Railways ca. 90 M tons of cargo, this year threatens to end at the point slightly over 40 M tons — at such volumes and present tariffs the profitability approaches zero.
In general, the RF freight transit volume through the ports of the Baltic States will shrink by 15-20% as a result of sharp outflow of cargoes, in particular, bulk liquids, through the ports of Latvia and Estonia. Alongside with the loss of millions tons the ports lose millions euros. Falling incomes of the Baltic States from transfer of export of Russian oil and oil derivatives to the ports of the Northwest of RF is estimated in 2015–2016 at 120 M dollars.
The loss of transit and, correspondingly, profit, will grow. This is guaranteed by a Russian state-owned company Transneft, which intends by 2018 to redirect cargo flows from the ports of Ventspils and Riga to Russian Baltic ports of Ust-Luga and Primorsk, as well as to Novorossiysk. Such redirection means withdrawal from Latvia of yet another 5 M tons of oil and oil derivatives.
The most popular explanation of drop in cargo flows – Russia has decided to load own ports at the Gulf of Finland, which it was rebuilding during the last decade.
What to do? There is a reply to this question as well. It is necessary to search for the replacement of Russian cargo. Moreover, such searches have been already started — the Latvian transit tries to attract cargo from China, Belarus, Kazakhstan. And, of course, to continue struggling for shrinking Russian transit.
Top managers with representation of capacities of the Latvian ports keep staying at Moscow, Beijing, Minsk and Astana. However, the landmark for the Latvian transport industry will happen in early November this year at Riga. The heads of governments of 16 countries of Eastern and Central Europe will arrive for Summit 16+1, whom the Premier of the State Council of the PRC Li Keqiang will join.
The traffic of New Silk Route theoretically can substitute the entire volume of the Russian transit in Latvia. As yet next year the route from China through Russia to Riga Port can start working. Alongside the berths at the offing of the Daugava the wagons will be discharged, further the goods will be shipped by vessels to Stockholm or Oslo: the delivery from a consignor to the consignee will take about 9 days, including minimum spending of time on customs procedures.
Civil servants from the LR Ministry of Transport draw such a picture on their promo videos. Whether freight consignors would believe them will be clear already in November – after visit of Comrade Keqiang.