Latviski English По-русски
Sunday 19.11.2017 | Name days: Liza, Līze, Elizabete, Betija

New port terminal project causes collision of interests of Šķēle, Ameriks and Republic of Belarus

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn the plans to create a new oil product handling terminal at Riga Freeport, Kundzinsala, a collision of interests has taken place, which involves Andris Šķēle, Republic of Belarus and Andris Ameriks.

The war in Ukraine has created risks and new opportunities for Riga Freeport. Companies working at the port have received information that Russia may start exporting its oil products through St Petersburg and Ustyug next year. For Belarus, on the other hand, it is the other way around – there is now a necessity to expand its Baltic transit corridor, because it is no longer safe to pump oil products through Ukraine, as reported by Nekā personīga programme of TV3.

In parallel, Belarus also holds talks with Lithuania. Belarus has also started exporting potassium salt through Klaipeda this summer. If no agreement is reached with Latvia in the nearest future, there is a risk that cargoes like crude, petrol and diesel fuel from Belarus companies will also leave.

«[…] we need to decide between Riga and Klaipeda. It also largely depends on the level of interest from ministries to have cargoes be carried through Riga. We have lost mineral fertilizers from Belarus to Klaipeda. They have left Ventspils. We do not want to lose oil products as well,» – says Latvian Transport Minister Anrijs Matiss.

Skonto būve’s co-owner Ivars Millers has been a cooperation partner for Belarus at Riga Freeport for more than a year. He has been leased 59 ha of land on the northern part of Kundzinsala in exchange for the promise to build an enormous container logistical part work EUR 170 million there. The idea with the logistical park failed and Miller instead decided to focus on the oil terminal project. Belarus decided to believe Miller’s promise. This was also benefited by the fact that ex-Prime Minister Andris Šķēle had been chosen as Millers’ consultant. Nevertheless, as a precaution, Belarus had also sent its ambassador to Riga City Council in order to receive confirmation from the local administration that there will be investments in the oil product terminal. However, they were not expecting ecological resistance. ‘In regard to the Northern terminal, I can say that I am very sceptical about oil products being handled there, because Riga City Council had declined two previous proposals from Mantess and Naftas serviss,’ – sais Andris Ameriks.

It is also worth checking if the contract with Millers’ company should be kept valid, because the businessman promised to invest only EUR 42 million in the oil terminal, not EUR 170 million as it was with the container terminal. «Businessmen have submitted their letters, but they have not submitted their business plans. Right now there is only a wish to change conditions of their lease contracts,» – said Ameriks.

After such a cold shower, oil exporters from Belarus did not rush to Klaipeda port, because they do not want to concentrate their export in a single port. Prime Minister of Belarus Mikhail Myasnitsky had told Latvian President Andris Berzins about these problems during their meeting in New York, USA. Upon his return to Riga, Berzins asked his advisor Aivis Ronis to handle this problem and travel to Belarus to calm down exporters of the neighbouring state. Ronis took consultant Andris Šķēle with him.

«The most important right now is to make sure there is cargo flow for Latvian ports. At the same time, it is important to diversify countries that send cargoes. As we see with the case of potassium, BY is capable enough to reach a long-term agreement with Klaipeda. The question is this – what does Riga have to do in order to make sure BY remains stays here? This is what my client has asked of me. My client is I.Millers, a man with a good reputation and high professional integrity,» – notes Šķēle.

It is possible that Šķēle has other interests in the oil transit project with Belarus. Kundzinsala’s Northern project belonged to Millers until September 2014. It then passed to a company that was once owned by the Šķēle family. By October 8th, its owner became Pic LV, which does not show owners in its enterprise register entry. Its Council Chairman is Millers’ son Kristaps and Deputy Chairman – businessman Edgars Dupats. Šķēle’s daughter Madara has changed her surname and is now Madara Šķēle – Dupate. Businessman Dupats is also Chairman of the Council of Liepaja Bus Park, half of which belongs to Šķēle’s family.

This week, Riga Freeport had increased rent fees for Kundzinsala’s Northern Project three times, because the company has not done anything. Mayor of Riga Nil Ushakov does not have such a strong ecological position as his colleague Ameriks. He is not prepared to sit down and talk with the delegation from Belarus. However, it is not even known if the delegation ever plans to hold any talks with Latvia. Businessmen from Belarus plan to hold talks about cargo exports to Klaipeda next week. «It is clear that the current situation abroad and competition do not hold anything good for Riga Freeport and the region. Diversification is always a welcome initiative, but we should also keep in mind that we also have a rather large neighbour when it comes to transit. There is no diversification that could potentially move this neighbour away. Replacing this neighbour with a new one is slightly out of our range of competence,» – said Ushakov.


Leave a reply

European Parliament triggers punitive procedure against Poland

Members of the European Parliament have passed a resolution requesting for the application of the so-called «nuclear option» for Poland, Article 7 of the EU Treaty, because of the threat to the rule of law in the biggest Eastern European country.

BNN summary of the week: medicinal cannabis in Lithuania, cargo anti-record, and Lemberg’s dwindling influence in UGF

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Fight; Growth; Truth; Future and Opinion.

NAF: Russia’s attitude remains unfriendly towards Latvia

So far Russia’s demonstrated attitude has remained unfriendly towards Latvia, said Commander of Latvian Armed Forces Leonīds Kalniņš in an interview to LNT.

Lembergs’ turn to testify before parliamentary committee has come

Aivars Lembergs, who is accused of serious crimes and is suspended from performing duties as chairman of Ventspils City Council, has been invited to come to a meeting of the Saeima’s Investigative Committee and answer questions associated with so-called oligarchs case.

How Latvian communities around the world plan to celebrate Latvia’s birthday?

«Celebration of independence of the Republic of Latvia is an important tradition that allows members of Latvia’s diaspora to maintain ties with their homeland – this year’s event will be even more expansive and inclusive than ever before. This is because events associated with the country’s hundredth birthday will be organized all around the world,» says manager of World Federation of Free Latvians office in Latvia Jānis Andersons.

European Parliament triggers punitive procedure against Poland

Members of the European Parliament have passed a resolution requesting for the application of the so-called «nuclear option» for Poland, Article 7 of the EU Treaty, because of the threat to the rule of law in the biggest Eastern European country.

Wage rules violations most often associated with envelope wages

To promote public awareness and improve commercial environment, honest competition and honest compliance with taxes, Latvia’s State Revenue Service intends to expand its database with new information about taxpayers, BNN was told by SRS.

Management of Unity’s Saeima faction to change in December

«Political consultations with all of Unity’s partner parties that are represented in the Saeima’s faction have concluded. An agreement has been reached to perform management change before the end of Saeima’s autumn session – around 21 December,» says Unity’s chairman Arvils Ašeradens.

EP prepared to commence talks with EU governments on reforming asylum system

The European Parliament is prepared to commence talks about reforming Dublin Regulation to ensure every member state is able to resettle a portion of asylum seekers.

Estonia to pour into Finnish-Estonian cultural fund 700 000 euros

Estonian cabinet of ministers has decided to attribute 700,000 euros to the Finno-Estonian Cultural Fund, an organisation working since 2015 aimed at fostering cooperation between the two states in culture, creative economy and training both for individuals and organizations.

Russia in UN vetoes extension of Syrian chemical attack investigation

At the UN Security Council, Russia has used its veto powers to block a resolution with which it would be allowed to continue the international investigation into a chemical attack this spring in Syria, which prompted the U.S. to launch missile strikes on a Syrian airbase.

Latvia’s birthday expected to be windy

A precipitation zone will reach Latvia from the west on Friday, 17 November. The precipitation zone will, however, pass over Latvia quickly, making rainfall short and periods of clear sky more frequent and longer. Air temperature is expected to stay within +5° C… +8° C, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

State of emergency in force in flood-hit Greece

Rescue services in Greece are looking for no less than five people, who have gone missing following unexpected and disastrous floods on Wednesday, November 15, that killed 15 people; however, bad weather is still expected.

Laupīšanas 101 director: Latvia’s film industry has yet to reach its potential height

There is sufficient evidence to prove that Latvia’s film industry is capable, but at the same time many films are directed basically the same way. There is a lack of creativity, which means very slow development for the industry, said Kaspars Marhlevičs, director of short comedy Laupīšanas 101, in an interview to BNN.

Medical cannabis bill paves way in Lithuanian legislature

Otherwise conservative Lithuania has made a big stride forward legalising cannabis for medical use with 92 Lithuanian parliamentarians voting Thursday, November 15, to open the bill draft on medication containing cannabis. The law draft should go back to the parliamentary floor for deliberations on December 12.

Latvian sentenced to ten years in prison for fighting on the side of ISIS in Syria

On Thursday, 16 November, Latvian citizen Mārtiņš Grīnbergs was sentenced by Riga Regional Court to ten years and three months in prison for fighting on the side of Islamic State terrorist organization.

European Parliament: Africa’s development requires a new stimulus

To resolve economic, social and migration-related problems, which usually accompany lasting crises, better African-EU cooperation is needed, European Parliament members say.

Latvian Chamber for Commerce and Industry proposes preventing new MPC reforms

Increase of mandatory procurement components cannot be allowed. Exactly the opposite – this cost should be dropped entirely for end electricity prices in an attempt to improve international competitiveness of companies, BNN was told by council members of Latvian Chamber for Commerce and Industry.

Matīss: LDz cannot raise tariffs and perform rail electrification under cargo anti-record

Because Latvijas dzelzceļš has set an anti-record in cargo transports in the first ten months of this year, Saeima deputy and member of the National Economy Committee Anrijs Matīss says raising the fee for the use of infrastructure cannot be allowed. He adds that the intended railway electrification project should be considered very carefully.

Lithuania and Latvia placed in top 10 in climate policy index

In the annual Climate Change Performance Index, where climate policy action in 57 countries has been evaluated, on a scale from «very high» to «very low», 11 EU member states have been evaluated with as having been highly active, with Sweden showing the best results ahead of Lithuania, the UK, Finland and Latvia.

Bite Latvija buys Stream Networks and Latnet

Mobile commutations operator Bite Latvija has signed a purchase agreement for 100% of shares of Stream Networks and its subsidiary Latner Serviss, as BNN was informed by Bite manager in Latvia Kaspars Buls.

airBaltic carried three million passengers in first ten months of 2017

In the first ten months of 2017, airBaltic carried a total of 3,007,034 passengers to destinations in Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS and the Middle East, BNN was told by the company.

Kaljulaid sees African opportunities to outplace EU in digitalisation

During a visit to Ethiopia, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid has discussed African-EU relations with the African Commissioner for Trade and Industry and recommended investing into digital development that would be beneficial for the continent itself.

Most employed people in Latvia are satisfied with their jobs

More and more often employers experience lack of qualified labour force, as well as increase of employees’ confidence about their competitiveness on the labour market and their openness for better job offers.

Estonian railways operator happy about increasing freight volume

Freight carried on the infrastructure of the Estonian state railway company Estonian Railways in October amounted to one million tons, which is a 10.4% hike compared to October 2016.

Newest comments