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Decade of growth and development at the Port of Riga

As a new decade approaches, we would like to offer a summary of the most significant last decade’s events at the Port of Riga that contributed to its growth and ability not only to maintain, but also to strengthen its leading position in the Baltic region irrespective of the fierce competition. During this time, the Port Police was established, and its fleet was increased by incorporating several new pilot ships, ice class tugboats and an icebreaker. Furthermore, its shipping channel was deepened and widened allowing to service larger vessels and cruise liners.

We also managed to complete the largest and most important investment and infrastructure development project not only during the last decade, but also in the entire history of the port: construction of terminals at Krievu sala. Thanks to co-financing from the Cohesion Funds, all coal handling operations were transferred from the historic centre of Riga to newly constructed state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly bulk handling terminals at Krievu sala.

During the previous decade, port operators also made significant contribution to the development of infrastructure and overall competitiveness at the Port of Riga. In 2013, a terminal for bulk fertilizers and short-term storage was opened: Riga Fertilizer Terminal. The total value of this project was more than 60 million euro.

Moreover, Riga Bulk Terminal also invested tens of millions of euro in the development of a multi-functional and technologically intensive bulk cargo handling terminal that is believed to be the most advanced not only in the Baltic States, but also in Europe. In 2017, Kundziņsala based TFS Trans logistics centre made impressive investment of more than 30 million euro in becoming the largest, most advanced and progressive terminal in the Baltic States and the second largest in Eastern Europe.

At the Port of Riga, the previous decade was marked with rapid development of industry: several extremely successful and rapidly developing companies implemented high quality manufacturing projects with impressive production capacities. This period was very successful for RIKON JSC, a producer of portal cranes, which is one of the few companies that manufacture cranes for Northern ports which are suitable for operation in extremely low temperatures. These cranes are made of a special grade steel and are fully functional event at temperatures that reach as much as 60 degrees Celsius below zero. Furthermore, a company called Madesta has become one of the largest producers of various types of containers: during the past year their production volume reached 25 thousand tons. At the Port of Riga, it manufactures large metal structures for oil, gas and bulk goods storage tanks and silos.

In 2014 and 2015, the Port of Riga had a record high cargo turnover: more than 40 million tons per year, allowing it to become the Baltic leader. Though this number has slightly decreased of late due to smaller volumes of coal and petroleum products, in 2018 it was still more than 36 million tons. The focus on new types of cargo and multi-functionality are the main factors that have allowed the port operators to successfully compete on the market and promptly respond to market changes.

Over the last ten years, significant changes have also affected the structure of cargo handled at the port, and its portfolio has become much more diversified. Its infrastructure and services have allowed to handle many types of consignments. During the last decade, the turnover of cargo at the Port of Riga has increased by 8% annually reaching ever new heights. Furthermore, since 2010 the volume of cereals and cereal products handled at the port has increased by almost five times becoming a significant new business direction for the port.

The Freeport of Riga is the largest port in Latvia. It is a multi-functional port with modern and safe infrastructure, where approximately 200 private operators, including 35 stevedore companies (cargo terminals), provide high quality services. At the same time the Freeport of Riga has been a strategic partner of NATO since 2009.

The Freeport of Riga Authority (FRA) manages the port, takes responsibility for the development of port infrastructure, security at the port, and lease of port infrastructure and land to private operators. FRA is an executive body that implements decisions of the Freeport of Riga Authority concerning development. FRA does not take active part in conducting business at the port. Its revenue is generated by port charges from serviced vessels, as well as rental fees for land and berths. FRA operates as a non-profit organization: its funds are used only for the management and development of the port.