September - one of the most successful months for the port of Riga

This year, during the month of September 3 million tons of various cargo were handled at the Riga port, which makes September one of the most successful months of the year in terms of handled cargo volume. Compared with the month of August the cargo turnover at the port increased by 13.5%. As mentioned above, the volume of cargo at the port of Riga has stabilized. Within nine months 26.9 million tons of cargo were handled at the port, which is by 10% less compared to the last year's corresponding period.

September has been a successful month for the bulk segment. During this month 1.9 million tons of various dry bulk cargo were handled, but the volume handled within the period of nine months has reached 15.7 million tonnes. The volume of coal handled at the port of Riga increased in September, and within a month it has exceeded 1 million tons. Such monthly coal transshipment volume has not been experienced by the Riga port since January of the current year. However, a total cargo volume transshipped within nine months at the port is still by 17.1% less than last year, but the gap is decreasing. The volume of handled grain products continues to grow rapidly at the port. The highest monthly result - 201.6 thousand tons of handled grain products was reached in September. This, of course, can be attributed to the commencement of the grain handling season, but the nine-month breakdown for this year proves that the port has handled by 56% more compared to the previous year. Another success story in regards of the bulk segment is associated with wood pellet volumes, handled at the Riga port. Within a nine-month period of the current year the port handled a little more than 1 million tons of wood pellets, which is by 4.6% more than during the first nine months of the last year. Wood pellets currently are being transshipped by 10 Riga port terminals. Wood pellets are perspective Latvian exports and bulk cargo type for the port of Riga. In the context of “green” energy development, the demand for wood pellets is growing, it is an environmentally friendly cargo, which is produced in Latvia from Latvian raw materials. Positive increase compared to the last year's nine-month figures for bulk segment is also demonstrated by the fertilizers (+ 6.9%), metal ores (+ 59.3%), peat (+ 7.3%) and various metals (+ 38.1%) cargo.

General segment indicators for nine months of this year are practically on the last year's level. The main part of the general cargo handled at the port of Riga consists of containerized cargo, and there is a positive growth trend  compared to the last year. 276.9 thousand TEU of containerized cargo were handled at the port within nine months of 2016, which is by 4.3% more than within the corresponding period of 2015.

The volume of oil products and, hence, the total liquid cargo turnover at the port in September remained low. Within nine months the port has handled 6.5 million tons of liquid cargo, which is by 20.5% less compared to the previous year's reporting period. The decline in oil product volume can be attributed to low oil prices and unfavorable market situation as well as to re-routing of Russian cargo to Russian ports. Decreasing transit of Russian energy cargo via the Baltic ports due to the fact that Russia is developing its own ports, is a reality and the Riga port has been aware of it for nearly 10 years. Freight and market diversification to reduce dependence on Russian energy cargo has been embedded in the Freeport of Riga Development Programme already in 2009. The activities aimed at attracting cargo from Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Central Asia countries, China and India, were carried out by enhancing the turnover of containerized cargo and container cargo handling at the port of Riga as well as by creating added value in the framework of cargo handling process.

Within nine months 447 thousand passengers were serviced at the Riga port, which is by 6.1% more than last year. 2016 cruise season has been successful. This year Riga has already been visited by 61 cruise ships and 69 thousand cruise passengers, which is by 3.5% more than during the corresponding period of the last year. Since this year the cruise season continues in October as well, it is expected that the current year will be completed with a very strong performance of the cruise sector. The Freeport of Riga Board Chairman Mr. Andris Ameriks: “I would like to note that increase in the number of cruise ships is the result of our previous continuous efforts - the cruise lines plan their routes for at least two years in advance. Now we see the results of our dedicated work. We promoted the Freeport when Riga was the European Capital of Culture and in the framework of Latvia’s EU Presidency. Similarly, both in Europe and elsewhere in the world, we actively promote Riga as a great tourist destination.”

Compared to the last year's nine months the number of passengers of Tallink ferry line increased by 6.6% and 378.2 thousand travelers enjoyed its services. Since Tallink has confirmed that from December the running of the ferry “Romantika” will be resumed and the ferry traffic from the port of Riga will be provided every day, the next year we expect a rapid port passenger traffic growth.