The key to success – innovative technology and value added services

By merging two former Swedish-owned terminals, new national port operator WT Terminal was born in the Freeport of Riga. Since inception, this company has managed to increase its cargo turnover seven times. Furthermore, it keeps increasing its production capacities, and cooperates with local engineers to develop and introduce innovative cargo handling technologies.

70% of WT Terminal cargo turnover is made up of timber, though it also increasingly focuses on grain and other bulk goods. Since 2005, when local partners took over shares in this former Swedish-owned company, WT Terminal has managed to increase the volume of handled consignments from approximately 100 thousand tonnes to 700 thousand tonnes per year. As for turnover, WT terminal is one of the Top 10 largest port operators at the Freeport of Riga, but in terms of the volume of handled timber, it is even in the Top 3.

This success was made possible by smart investment to make all processes at the terminal as effective as possible. New and innovative technologies and solutions are introduced on a regular basis – both to optimise the handling process, as well as further the general development of the company.

WT Terminal has facilities for drying, sorting and packaging sawn wood. “Our company gives added value to sawn wood that allows to increase its price by approximately 15-20%”, explains Andis Bunkšis, Member of the Board of WT Terminal. The company boasts the largest drying and sorting facilities at the port. For several years, it has also operated a sorting line that enables sorting and packaging of sawn wood after it is dried. Thus, the process takes as little time as possible to prevent the wood from absorbing unnecessary moisture. WT Terminal timber processing services are used not only by Latvian, but also increasingly by Belorussian exporters of sawn wood who often do not have access to drying facilities.

According to company policy, customers should be offered the most extensive range of timber processing services possible, while increasing the efficiency of all processes. “I believe we are the only terminal at the Freeport of Riga that offers not only handling services, but also a complete automatic drying and sorting cycle for sawn wood. Process automation through the introduction of various automated solutions allows us to increase processing speeds, and reduce manual labour, as well as to improve the accounting and management of processes,” continues A. Bunkšis.

To handle bulk cargo, WT Terminal uses a mobile Latvian designed and built bulk cargo conveyor belt, which was created together with port experts through a company called Smartteh. The mobile conveyor belt can be used to handle any type of bulk cargo. Thanks to cooperation between experts from both areas, it took just a year and a half to build from scratch. The line is still being tested and fine-tuned, but it is already clear that the price of the Latvian made conveyor belt is much lower than any foreign analogues. A representative of WT Terminal does not exclude the possibility that such lines could be mass produced in the future, as they do have promising export potential.