Politicians and the public regularly discuss the lack of budget funds to afford improvements for healthcare, education, law enforcement. New taxes and new ways of adding money to the state chancellery are sought left and right. They forget that transit has always been a stable source of income for Latvia, Vesti Segodnya writes.
Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics reminds that transit remains Latvia’s second largest and most important sector of Latvia’s national economy, bringing in more than one billion euros to the state budget annually. Unfortunately, this industry has been suffering a major decline in cargo turnover lately.
«Starting from 2013, annual decline in cargo turnover has been 5-7%. This year, however, it has reached a dramatic level. Cargo turnover of Latvian ports has declined 13.7% over the course of the first seven months of 2016. This means Latvia’s economy has already lost at least EUR 180 million. At the same time, other ports of the Baltic Sea region are experiencing growth in cargo turnover. This means this region has an overall growing trend in relation to cargo turnover,» – explains President of BATL Inga Antane.
BATL had previously expressed concerns that Latvia risks being erased from the global trade network because of hesitation in making important decisions and lack of unity in transit offers. Because of that, BATL decided to turn to high-rank officials, including mayors of Riga, Liepaja and Ventspils, as well as head s of Latvia’s largest ports, state social partners and representatives of foreign investors with a request to immediately sit down and develop a unified and competitive offer to Latvia’s transit clients.
«At the moment, when major and conceptual changes are being experienced in the world’s transit roads, Latvia, as a transit country, is put at a crossroads. It is highly important for our country to retain its status as a transit country and remain able to create and secure the most beneficial and competitive offers to ensure global transit roads go through Latvia. Now is the tome to develop attractive and unified offers for cargo inflow to Latvian ports. In addition, it is highly important to understand that Latvian ports should not compete with one another. They have to become more competitive in relation to other Baltic Sea ports,» – says Antane.
According to her, it is especially important to create a unified offer because the 16+1 summit will be held in Riga in November. It is known that all European countries provide offers to ensure the New Silk Way goes through their territories. The opportunity to provide competitive and beneficial offers to secure more cargo flow through Latvia is in the country’s hands.
«One of our biggest challenges is the ability offer unified, competitive tariffs for cargo transports using Latvia’s railway and connectivity with the largest Latvian ports. It is vital that our cooperation partners abroad view our country as a single transit corridor. This is why they also expect single and clear cargo transport conditions, regardless of the chosen port,» – says the head of the association.
This is why BATL urges Latvian officials who have direct or indirect influence over Latvia’s transit industry to sit down and discuss the most beneficial solution for all involved sides.