The largest stevedoring company operating at the Freeport of Riga, Riga Universal Terminal (RUT), is optimistic about next year and is planning to invest up to 4 million euros in new equipment, construction of cargo areas and technological solutions. At the same time, the company plans to increase the handled cargo volume by 5%, as well as to attract additional cargo in the frozen food and agricultural products segment. Since 2014, when the company was acquired by the Japanese port operator Portek International Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of the Japanese group Mitsui & Co., Ltd., at least 60 million EUR have been invested in it.
Within 11 months of the current year, RUT has already handled more than 3.4 million tons of various cargo, which makes approximately 18% of the total cargo turnover in the port of Riga, while the total annual port turnover might exceed 3.7 million tons. The largest volume of cargo handled by RUT was made up of timber products and containerized cargo.
“” Riga Universal Terminal” is one of the fastest growing companies in the Freeport of Riga. In addition, thanks to its chosen strategy - to focus equally on both transit cargo and the Baltic region cargo – and with its range of efficient logistics solutions, it provides our local operators with opportunities to reach other countries' markets. The company is developing, growing volumes, investing in infrastructure and technologies, which is a good signal for us to be optimistic about the future,” said Ansis Zeltins, the Freeport of Riga CEO.
The company's future plans are based on a long-term business approach - decisions are made taking into account several decades to come. According to Jānis Kasalis, Member of the Board and Executive Director of RUT, decision-making process is currently largely subordinated to the international green recovery initiative, which aims at zero emissions by 2050. “We are closely following the global green course, analyzing what technologies we need to change or adapt to reduce CO2 emissions, generated by our terminal operation. Of course, we are well aware of new types of cargo to enter the market in the framework of all these changes, and therefore we are actively working to make the company ready for them,” emphasized J. Kasalis.
RUT will also continue to invest in the automation of terminal processes, focusing on future challenges. According to the world practice, the implementation of this process in ports is relatively slower than, for example, in the industrial and commercial sectors, but in recent years the port sector has also changed. International practice has demonstrated that careful port process automation planning and management can reduce costs by up to 55%, while increasing operational efficiency by up to 35%.
“Currently, our agenda includes issues related to automation of cargo delivery, storage and loading processes. The ideal scenario would be if we could ensure that the first person to touch a container is the one who loads it. If our future plans are implemented, all other processes will take place without the direct presence of personnel,” said J. Kasalis, commenting on the plans for the automation process at the RUT terminal.
In 2022, RUT plans to automate cargo identification and weighing, as well as control of persons without the direct presence of controlling personnel. It is expected that entry and exit from the terminal in the coming year could be fully automated. “The development and modernization of the Riga Universal Terminal in today's business environment is hardly possible without the balanced and coordinated cooperation of all parties involved. Process automation is no exception. We are currently successfully cooperating with the Freeport of Riga Authority, the Customs Authority and the Latvian Maritime Administration with the aim to launch a centralized terminal process management system next spring. Such a centralized approach is not only more efficient, but also more cost-effective for all parties involved, as everyone does not have to develop and maintain their own individual system, ”added J. Kasalis.
Information for media
- liene.ozola [at] rop.lv, +371 670 308 53
- Freeport of Riga Authority
- 12 Kalpaka blvd, Riga, Latvia, LV-1010