- Published on Friday, 18 June 2010 10:35
At the beginning of June, Judith Garber, the U.S. ambassador to Latvia, got acquainted with the management system of the Freeport of Riga Authority, immersed herself in the decision-making processes, and assessed in presence the technological capacity of the container terminal, safety measures and the conditions that the NATO cargos are stored and transshipped in.
As announced earlier, the volume of NATO cargos in the Riga Port increases gradually, therefore the wish of the U.S. ambassador Judith Garber to get acquainted with the Freeport of Riga in more detail was reasonable. When meeting with Viesturs Silenieks, Deputy of Board Chairman of the Freeport of Riga Authority, the ambassador noted that she sees a possibilities to expand shipment of the U.S. cargos through the Riga Port. Representative of the port, on the other hand, made a proposition to simplify sea transport from America to the Eastern Europe, namely, to organize cargos shipment from America to Riga without transshipment of cargos in the largest European ports (Rotterdam or Hamburg). Currently, unloading of the big ships in the said port is being practiced, then cargos are taken to another terminal, stored and then loaded on ships going to Riga again. Establishment of direct shipping lines would be economically more profitable and much faster for the owners of cargos. Also, the Freeport Authority should consider attraction of cargos from the east to the U.S.
It must be acknowledged that the Riga Port is yet too shallow for the biggest ships, therefore deepening of the port acquatorium is being performed already for the second year, and this year in total more than 7 million lats have been allocated for the purpose from the budget of the Freeport of Riga Authority. Current depth of the port corresponds to entrance of ships with draught of 12.2 m. Ships of such type also have sufficiently big capacity to establish a shipping line from America to Riga.
Viesturs Silenieks notes: “Other countries have also expressed the wish to ship NATO cargos through the Riga Port, for example, the first trains with cargos of the Great Britain, Belgium and Spain arrived already in May 14. The cargos comprise construction materials, food. To a certain extent it is connected with safety of the cargos which is difficult to guarantee, for example, in Pakistan where a train of NATO cargos has already been attacked.”