Cooperation with Belarusian forest industry will allow the Port of Riga to continue increasing its timber cargo volumes

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Last week representatives of the Belarusian Ministry of Forestry visited the Port of Riga to discuss export of Belarusian timber.  The guests agreed that the cooperation has an impressive potential and that there are many opportunities to boost timber transit and seek different types of cooperation. In addition, the Belarusian party presented a detailed proposal of the cooperation model. For the Port of Riga it means an opportunity to continue increasing its timber cargo volumes. 

The amount of timber passing through the Port of Riga is growing rapidly. In 2018, timber cargo turnover grew by 34.5% and reached 5.5 million. Timber has become the second largest cargo group behind coal.  However, the potential of growth in this cargo segment has not been exhausted yet. 

About 7% of the total timber cargoes come from Belarus. The share of Belarusian timber products in the Port is growing annually and has a potential for further growth. ‘One thing I can say for sure is that our cooperation has a great potential. We have many ways to boost our volumes and seek different kinds of cooperation, said Belarusian Deputy Minister of Forestry Vladimir Krech.

Representatives of the Belarusian Ministry of Forestry took a tour of the Port of Riga, visited companies working in the Port and presented a detailed cooperation model proposal to the Freeport of Riga Authority and the port companies. Belarusian timber industry is looking for the best routes to export timber to Scandinavia and Western Europe. The Belarusian party proposed investing in the port companies and becoming their joint owners. That way, Belarusian timber industry would get some control over tariffs and eliminate the chain of intermediaries. At the same time, Latvian companies would get guaranteed cargo volumes. ‘This model involving Belarusian capital is already working in a number of ports. It is probably not worth reinventing the wheel. If a model works and brings good results, it’s a good idea to take it as a basis to use elsewhere, stated V. Krech.

The port companies will decide whether they want to use the model proposed by the Belarusian party. Ansis Zeltiņš, CEO of the Freeport of Riga Authority, believes that the proposed model is worth discussing: “There are many companies in the Freeport of Riga working with timber. Those are both terminals transferring timber cargoes and companies involved in timber processing, packaging, sorting and loading into containers. I think that this model of cooperation can be promising and mutually beneficial and will boost our cargo flow.”