- Published on Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:15
Cargo turnover at the Freeport of Riga has exceeded the records of previous years and it now totals more than 34.07 million tons, an increase of 11.8% over the previous year. As a reminder – in 2010, the Port of Riga handled 30.47 million tons of cargo.
Freeport of Riga Chairman of the Board Andris Ameriks points out: “Already after seeing the performance of the last year’s first quarter, when the volume of the cargo handled by the port exceeded the year-on-year volume by 7.5%, we realised that overall this will be a successful year for the port. Although based on the activity, contracts and annual goals of the port’s companies one could expect the volume of the cargo handled during the previous year to be more, the total result for the year surprised us in a positive way. I believe that it would not have been possible for the port’s companies to achieve these results without a targeted strategy carried out by the Freeport of Riga Authority. We are led by the principle that we should set our goals first, which may even seem utopian in the beginning, and then look for every possibility to achieve these goals. Not so long ago, in 2010, the 30 million ton margin was exceeded for the first time in the port’s history, and, within a year, we have already increased this amount by 4 million tons. In fact, such outcome is only logical, as the investments made in recent years in the construction of deep-water wharfs, deepening of shipping routes, reconstruction of access roads and other infrastructure objects have made the Port of Riga even more competitive, more attractive to new investors and convenient for owners of large ships. Of course, not everything has gone as smoothly as we would like. It is most unfortunate that, for reasons outside the control of the Freeport of Riga Authority, the realisation of the ambitious Krievu island project has not yet begun. That would open new opportunities and further enhance the competitiveness of the port, which in turn would bring in profits to the state economy. Let me remind you that from every ton of cargo reloaded at the Port of Riga, 10 lats flow into the Latvian economy, so this year the Port of Riga’s contribution to the Latvian economy was about 340 million lats.”
The highest increase – 15%, occurred in the liquid cargo segment. Overall, 7.52 million tons of petroleum products were reloaded in 2011 at the Port of Riga, which is practically one million tons more than in 2010 (6.53 million t). It should be noted that, in 2010, relative to the year 2009, the increase in the petroleum products group was only 0.2%. Liquefied gas only represents a small share of the total cargo volume, but even this cargo group experienced a positive development by +24%.
Like the rest of the world, the objectives of the Port of Riga are aimed at increasing the share of containerised cargo. The increase of this type of cargo, which is part of the general cargo segment, has seen a substantial over the past two years. In 2009, 1.86 million tons of containerised cargo was processed. In 2010 it was 2.65 million tons, but in 2011, it was already more than 3.15 million cargo of this kind. The numbers show that 19% more cargo has already been handled in 2011 compared to 2010.
The Roll On/Roll Off cargo group of the general cargo segment experienced a volume decline of 19.5% compared to the year 2010. The volumes of timber and other general cargo also decreased by 8.8%, but that did not leave a significant impact on the port’s total turnover.
About two-thirds, or 19.97 million tons of cargo of the total workload of the port were related to the bulk cargo segment. Of this amount, the most important part was coal, the reloading volume of which reached 13.49 million tons in 2011. It should be noted that, in 2011, after the fall in turnover in 2010, this cargo group practically reached the level of 2009. A significant increase occurred in reloading of fertilizers – by 24.5% in 2011, exceeding the margin of 1.7 million. Positive dynamics were also observed in the grain and grain products group (+35%). The amount of ferroalloy had almost doubled. There was a significant increase in the shipment of construction materials (+54%), sugar, scrap metal and other bulk cargos segment group. The amount of sawn timber shipped was down by 15.1%, as was the amount of various metals (-20%), wood chips (-13.8%), ore (-17.0%) and peat. Despite the fact that the volume of several cargo groups had decreased, the overall bulk cargo volume in 2011 was 14.5% higher than in 2010.
Carriage of passengers has been playing an increasing role in the operation of the Port of Riga, the dynamics of which over the last three years can be characterized as stable. In 2009 691.5 thousand passengers were transported. In 2010 there were 764 thousand passengers, but in 2011 there were already 839.7 thousand passengers. The average statistics show that the number of passengers per year is increasing by 9 to 10 per cent (the increase in 2011 was 9.9%). Cruise passengers are important, too. Last year there were 127 thousand cruise passengers, which is 8.5% more than in 2010.