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Tuesday 20.02.2018 | Name days: Smuidra, Vitauts, Smuidris
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RP: ports should be the country's economic engines, not feeders for "the chosen"

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Аuthor: Edijs Pālens/LETA“Latvia has a great potential to develop port activity, but because of disjointed management systems and the lack of a long-term strategy ports lose their competitiveness in the tense competition with ports of other regions”, – Reform Party (RP) representative Sandra Sondore-Kukule says.

Commenting the results of the report by experts of the World Bank on the activities of Latvian ports, the party’s representative noted the same problems the party had noted nearly two years ago. “The report of the World Bank proves that the discussion about improving the management system of Latvian ports is vitally important in order for our ports to be able to preserve their current roles in the region and start recovering their lost positions”, – she said.

“We hope the improvement of port activity will become a priority for the government. The only way to increase the state budget revenue, in order to secure additional funding for the social sector, education and culture, is to improve economic growth. Latvian ports have an opportunity to become the country’s main economic engine, not feeders for “the chosen”. But in order for this to happen, all government partners need to agree on performing positive changes to port activities”, – Sondore-Kukule believes.

BNN previously reported that representatives of the World Bank criticized Riga and Ventspils ports in their assessment of the Latvian port sector’s competitiveness and management on Tuesday, May 7.

The Tuesday revealed report included an analysis of port activity and management status. The final report, which will include proposals on how to improve the situation, is expected to be presented this summer.

The current report includes many known facts about cargo structure and port management principles.

Some conclusions are rather critical. The use of very old infrastructure is criticized, as is the transit dependence on countries that have their own ports. It is mentioned that Latvia’s ports have reduced their market shares in the region in the last 12 years, in spite of the last year’s increase of handled cargo. The market share of Latvian ports has reduced from 37% to 21%.

It is also concluded that there are problems with servicing large ships. For example: Riga is developing the planned canal deepening and cargo terminal modernization too slowly than it needs to be.

After evaluation the ports management Boards it was concluded that there are no representatives with experience in the private sector. Experts also noted that there were no specific terms in the contracts of Board members. According to experts, there is not enough coordination between port Boards and railway management. It is advised to review options how to prevent bureaucratic obstacles.

The survey by the World Bank was carried out in two stages – analysis of the current situation and proposal of options to improve the situation.

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