The Board of the Freeport of Riga reviews its budget and reduces expenses

At the end of April, the Freeport of Riga Board has revised the budget of the Freeport - reducing the planned expenditure and investment positions by one-fifth or approximately 10 million euros. It has been done due to the decline in the world economic activity as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the uncertainty about how quickly and at what intensity international freight and passenger transport will recover after downtime. Nevertheless, the Freeport of Riga continues to operate at full capacity, and the implementation of several investment projects important for the port and the city is not cancelled.

“From a financial point of view, we have created a proper ”safety cushion”' to ensure sustainable port operation and development, while closely following and monitoring the economic situation, being aware of the fact that the expenditure and revenue positions might be further revised if necessary this year. At present, it is clear that we will continue several investment projects important for the city of Riga, such as construction of Kundziņsala overpass, which will reduce the cargo flow through the center of Riga, while the project of restoring the shore reinforcement structures washed away by the autumn storms in Bolderāja will also remain operational”, said Mr. Viesturs Zeps, Chairman of the Freeport of Riga Board in his interview to the newspaper “Latvijas avīze”.

A coordinated and determined action is currently being taken to successfully apply for European funding with the aim to finance the reconstruction of both port piers, which will provide an opportunity to deepen and expand the port access channel. “This would significantly enhance the capacity of the port of Riga in the fierce competition of the ports of the Baltic Sea region - larger ships could enter the port of Riga, respectively more efficient transportation and transshipment of larger volumes of cargo can be provided,” added V.Zeps.

While being interviewed by “Latvijas avīze”, the Freeport Board Chairman emphasized that although the total cargo turnover is declining due to the drop in energy cargo, the Port of Riga compensates it with positive changes in other cargo groups – there is a significant increase in grain cargo and timber products turnover, and container cargo volumes are stable. This year, new cargo groups, such as cement, have been handled at the port of Riga.

“The port of Riga is adapting to the new conditions. We are developing a strategy on how to integrate into new global transport chains, how to address changes in cargo flows and attract new projects,” emphasized the Chairman of the Freeport of Riga Board.

“At the same time, we feel that this crisis opens up opportunities for the port of Riga as a new logistics hub - the cargo traffic in the world has never stopped and carriers are looking for new routes and new opportunities for cargo transportation, handling and processing (in both directions - to and from the port of Riga),” added Viesturs Zeps.