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Sunday 17.12.2017 | Name days: Teiksma, Hilda

Antane: government’s indecisiveness and rushed decisions impact transit industry

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe refusal of Russian Railways to carry cargoes from Russian ports to Latvia could create a state of emergency for Latvia’s transit industry, says Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics.

The crisis in the country’s second largest national economy industry will strongly impact Latvia’s economy, the association states, adding that the situation became like this because of the government’s indecisiveness, rushed and unreasonable decisions, as well as its refusal to resolve problems associated with the industry’s competitiveness.

«The government’s decision to prohibit Ventspils port to participate in the massive international Nord Stream 2 project shows that the government either does not know how or does not want to serve their country’s economic interests,» BATL continues.

Logistics industry’s representatives explain that the government’s arguments about the threat posed by Nord Stream 2 project to the country’s security do not hold up against criticism. «According to Latvia’s foreign policy doctrine, Russia remains our country’s strategic cooperation partners. Talks of espionage under the cover of pipeline components’ transport are nothing more than unreasonable dramatization of the entire situation. A more realistic threat is the army of unemployed people caused by the dramatic decline of transit cargoes. It will be necessary to pay social benefits to those people. We can also expect a new wave of emigration,» says BATL president Inga Antane.

«We cannot understand whose interests state officials serve by making decisions that hurt the industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people and brings Latvia’s economy more than one billion euros annually. The time has come to take responsibility for decisions that bring very serious consequences for Latvia’s economy,» said Antane.

BATL has asked President Raimonds Vejonis, Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis and even Transport Minister Uldis Augulis on many occasions to address the matter of raising competitiveness of the transport and logistics industry. Unfortunately, no response has been received on this matter or in relation to the creation of a single transit corridor and even the equalization of railway tariffs, BATL representatives say.

The association notes that Ventspils City Council has also been asked to cooperate. Similar to the situation with high-rank state officials, no response has been received from the city council so far. «This shows that the government and the current leadership in Ventspils have no interest in raising the competitiveness of Latvia’s transit industry.»

Logistics industry’s representatives explain that discussions about tariff equalization have been continuing since 2015, when cargo volumes in Ventspils’ direction had first started to decline. Transport Ministry was handed a study about competitiveness of Latvia’s ports, proposals and solutions for potential funding sources. Unfortunately, the government has apparently decided that it is not worth resolving important matters for the industry.

‘It is wrong from the perspective of national economy that businesses working at three largest ports in the country compete with one another for access to infrastructure. Because of the distance, Ventspils port is less competitive than other ports. If it costs a businessman EUR 3 – 5 more to carry cargoes through Ventspils, he will either decide in favour of Riga or Klaipeda. We all lose as a result,’ Antane concludes.

Ref: 224.109.109.5110


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