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Tuesday 20.02.2018 | Name days: Smuidra, Vitauts, Smuidris
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Economic Diary of Latvia. Rail Baltica is given green light

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvian, Lithuanian and Estonian transport ministers have signed a document detailing the foundation of a joint Rail Baltic II company. The goal of this project is to integrate transport infrastructure of Baltic States with that of the European Union.

The next step is a detailed technical inspection of the entire route. The actual construction is set to begin in 2020 and conclude in 2024.

According to an agreement with shareholders, the main goals of this company include the main design project of the railway line, its construction and marketing. The contract specifically emphasizes two main conditions: ownership over railway infrastructure belongs to the country on the territory of which this infrastructure is located. Each involved side finances only the volume of construction that takes place on its territory.

The total price of the project is estimated at EUR 3.7 billion. Latvia’s share is EUR 1.27 billion. Actual costs of each participant of the project will depend on assistance from Brussels. It is expected that European support may reach 85%.

The total distance covered by railway project will reach 728 km (235 km for Latvia).

Passenger trains will be able to reach speeds of up to 240 km/h. Average speed will be 170 km/h. It is assumed that a single trip from Tallinn to the Lithuanian-Polish border will take only four hours. Passenger transport will be organized every two hours.

Residents of all three Baltic States will benefit from this project. It will allow them to travel much quicker to any destination in Europe, believes Latvian Transport Minister Anrijs Matiss. ‘This transport artery will become a bridge that will connect Baltic States with Europe and will contribute to the development of national economy,’ – said Matiss.

It is presumed that this new railway hub will attract some part of cargo flow that is currently transported by car transport. Europe continues strengthening regulations regarding CO2 emissions.

At the moment, Baltic railway systems are integrated with those of CIS countries, but not the EU. Rail Baltica II is expected to fill this infrastructural gap.

Decline of cargo flow forces Latvijas Dzelzceļš to change its development plans

There was also a meeting of the Latvian Council on Ports, Transit and Logistics. During this meeting, officials reviewed the matter regarding the progress of the project’s realization. Development of the concept for this project is set to be finished this year.

However, representatives of Latvijas Dzelzceļš have told to Council that, considering the current cargo flow and financial capabilities of the company, it is planned to focus on destinations leading to Riga and Ventspils.

The company believes it is not economically sound to work on the line leading to Liepaja: low cargo flow would not return the investment into the line. This, on the other hand, will have a definite impact on costs of using infrastructure.

The Council has decided to carry out an additional meeting with representatives of large ports, municipalities and other interested sides in order to analyze economic gains from the project, including geopolitical aspects, expected cargo flow, energy market trends and other notable factors.

Furthermore, representatives of Latvijas Dzelzceļš have presented a report on the realization of other strategic projects: construction of the second railway line on the Skriveri-Krustpils Line, modernization of Skirotava sorting station, alarm systems modernization and others.

Customs to work faster

Heads of customs services of Latvia and Russia have signed an agreement regarding cooperation in the field of customs control and measures aimed at speeding the process of border crossing, as reported by Latvian State Revenue Service.

Latvia was represented by Director of Customs Office Talis Kravalis and Russia – head of Federal Customs Service Andrey Belyaninov.

Among other things, the two sides reached an agreement on cooperation in the field of customs control and operative exchange of information in the event of emergencies and other dangerous situations.

Latvia and Russia have also reached an agreement to exchange information received from scanners and as a result of inspections of goods and vehicles that cross the border.

Heads of the two customs services also discussed a number of important matters, including:

-bilateral coordination of processes aimed at modernization of customs checkpoints;

-cooperative plan to reduce queues of vehicles waiting to cross the border during festive days – October 25th, 2014– February 1st, 2015;

-introduction of a pilot project at the Grebnevo-Ubilinka checkpoint titled ‘Single Green Corridor’ for private persons who do not have any items to declare in their luggage;

-bilateral exchange of information regarding uncovered violations of customs rules related to carrying of goods over the border;

-possible measures to reduce the number of returned cargoes;

Representatives of both sides have noted the effectiveness of cooperation between customs services of Latvia and Russia.

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