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Cooperation with Belarus offers good prospects to the Latvian transit sector

During the last week, the Freeport of Riga Authority, several port operators and other logistics stakeholders represented Latvia during the Belarus International Transport Week in Minsk. More than 20 transport and logistics companies from Latvia participated in the 13th Transport and Logistics Fair.

For some time, the Latvian transport and logistics companies have used one brand, “VIA Latvia”, for self-promotion during international sectoral fora. This brand represents a uniform offering of stakeholders of the Latvian transport corridor, namely to ensure smooth and efficient cargo transit between Belarus and Latvia. It also helps to convince Belarusian partners that our transport corridor is lucrative and expedient, thus winning a very fierce competition with our neighbours. “‘VIA Latvia’ operates like a one stop shop,” explains Uldis Reimanis, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Transport. “It is even more important during international trade shows, as it helps to attract more potential customers,” emphasizes U. Reimanis.

Belarus has always been an important partner for the Latvian logistics sector. Currently, approximately one third of all consignments transported via Latvian railways is sent from Belarus to Latvian ports.  “Cooperation with Belarus in the transport and logistics sector has positive dynamics, as cargo turnover between Latvia and Belarus keeps growing. During the Transport Week in Minsk, we presented Latvia as a country which is nearby and friendly, and which is a good partner for efficient and successful business interactions,” claimed Tālis Linkaits, Minister for Transport, during his working visit to Belarus.

Latvian ports are close enough to Belarus that does not have its own sea ports.  The range of our quality services is broad enough to compete for Belarusian cargo. Companies operating from the Port of Riga look at these opportunities from a practical business point of view. “For Latvian logistics companies, the Belarusian market is quite complicated. The Port of Klaipēda, which is geographically closer to Belarus, fiercely competes with us and attracts many potential customers. This is the reason why we have come to Minsk, namely to show off the advantages we offer and our strengths,” explains Valdis Andersons, Chairman of the Board of port operator ‘Rīgas centrālais termināls’.

Ansis Zeltiņš, CEO of the Freeport of Riga, believes, “The Port of Riga has clear objectives for the Belarusian market, and we are currently able to efficiently compete for Belarusian cargo. Furthermore, from the point of view of the Latvian logistics sector, successful cooperation with Belarus entails access to a much larger market in the CIS countries and the entire Eurasian transport corridor.” The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is the Eastern equivalent of the European Union. It is a customs union that covers 10 time zones and economies worth trillions of euros. Belarus is one of the CIS countries closest to Latvia. In addition, during the last few years, Belarus has developed successful cooperation with Chinese manufacturing and transit sectors. Thus, good relations with Belarus promise stable growth for the Latvian logistics sector in the future.