bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Saturday 28.02.2015 | Name days: Skaidrīte, Justs, Skaidra
LithuaniaLithuania

Russian embargo shockwaves started crippling Lithuanian haulers

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULinas Jegelevičius fot the BNN

Russian embargo has punched Lithuanian haulers hard in the face – after staggering for a bit in shock, the heavy body of national logistics is starting to slump. This is an illustrative description, but it reflects best the situation among Lithuanian carriers, expecting help from the national Road Carriers’ Association (RCA) Linava.

Many still assessing the damage

Its vice-president Rimantas Martinavičius told BNN that here unusual calm has been lingering for the last three weeks since the announcement of Russian embargo in the sector.

«But now the silence is breaking up, as some haulers acknowledge they are being cornered up by Russian embargo. Meanwhile, others don’t send yet a Mayday call, but try to assess the blow and are working frenetically on business alternatives. But by the beginning of September when the association will hold an all-member meeting, I believe, we’ll start seeing the real toll,» Martinavičius told.

In fact, some of the haulers have already raised their hands up, handing their truckers pink slips.

As of early August 27, Vilnius-based logistics company Hofa was the first in the line to have publicly announced of mulling laying-off 210 of its workers, among them 120 drivers.»

«Nearly all our business activity was about fruit and vegetable exports to Russia. We transported the green goods to Russia and provided Russian market some other logistic services.  With the red flag up, our business is over,» said Dainius Drūteika, company’s director.

Over the last three weeks, the hauler saw disappearing most of the lucrative business orders. Of its 100 freezer-trucks usually riding the Russian roads, now only 20 of the fleet still crisscross Russia, but their near future in the country is dim. With the Russian cord cut off, the majority of workers have been idling.

«But as finding new markets and diverting to them takes quite some time, having the personnel cuts might be imminent», the businessman insisted.

Swapping markets is hard

And the alternatives that Hofa is now working strenuously on are not limitless, he says.

«The way-out of the plight is the same as before: turning around and heading to Europe. There aren’t just too many other options. The dreams about as far markets as Morocco, which we’d considered at some point in the past, can’t leave the realms of dreams, as we don’t have necessary permits to operate in the country,» said Druteika.

The company has done some commercial haulage as far as in the dangerous Afghanistan in the past.

And turning to Europe amid the crisis is far from being simple, the transporter noted.

«Work in Europe is absolutely different. Alike many Lithuanian logistic companies, we would need to become there part of large local transportation companies. When dealing with Russia, all the managers and drivers had to have a good command of Russian, and now they have to be taught decent English in order to be able to carry out the assignments in Europe. It is not simple,» the Hofa head told.

Some Lithuanian transport specialists, he noted, already toil for the biggest Western European logistic companies, but, as a rule, their duties ultimately boil down to the technical stuff – buying trucks, obtaining necessary licenses, hiring drivers and handing them over to the maternal company’s administration.

«This is how far the Lithuanians would be allowed proceed in the West», Druteika told.

Other haulers in worse plight

Meanwhile, Algimantas Kondrusevičius, Linava president, hoped that Hofa, which he characterized as a modern and experienced company, will manage to get out of the murky situation.

«There’re other transport companies, much smaller in size than Hofa, which now ended up being in a whole lot worse situation. They are not just 100 percent oriented to Russian market, but what makes things worse they carried only Lithuanian dairy products to Russia. For them, having worked with the closed circle of clients many years there, plunging into other markets is really uneasy. It is akin to plunging into a bush of nettles,» the association head spoke illustratively.

Unwilling to come up with any particular names, he insisted that there are «several dozen» haulers throughout the countryteetering on the brink of abyss.

«As a rule, they are medium-sized enterprises, employing 20-30 trucks, which without liaisons with the West, cannot be quickly steered to that direction,» Kondrusevičius told.

He told he knew a logistics company in Šiauliai, a city in northern Lithuania, which in the wake of Russian embargo has been running only three out of its 23 trucks.

«And there’s acuter competition among the drivers within the company,» he noted.

According to Linava, there are 27 thousand Lithuanian trucks on the international roads- around 7-8 thousand of them are refrigerated trucks.

An impressive one-third of the fleet whisked the goods to Russia until now.

Pleas for help sent

Facing the immediate aftermath of Russian embargo, some haulers have sent part of their truckers on forced leave or paid holidays. But the exact scope of the embargo-related layoffs will turn up in the early fall, Linava president warned.

«The transport business understands well that laying-off the drivers is tantamount to ruining the business, so all the companies in the sector do whatever they can find solution,» he said.

Nearly 2000 transport companies are registered in Lithuania, according to Martinavičius.

With the future becoming even gloomier, the haulers’ functionaries expect that Lithuanian Government will throw them a buoy in cushioning the severity of Russian sanctions.

«We really expect a reasonable behavior to the sector from the authorities as far as putting off tax payment is concerned,» he said.

Meanwhile, Robertas Dargis, president of Lithuania’s Industrialist Confederation (LIC), hinted that the actual scope of the aftermath of Russian sanctions could be assesses only around in a month from now.

But he insisted Lithuania is likely to avoid the worst blow, like the ones that Lithuania had dealt with amid the 1998 Russian economy downturn.

He says the business now comprehends well Russian market’s risks and therefore has diversified their business activities since 1998.

Russia can’t be disavowed

Dargis cautioned all at a LIC meeting early in the week not to completely cut the ties with Russia.

«While assessing the risks and dangers, it is advisable to maintain the dialogue with Russian businessmen…We all should speak of what awaits us all in the future,» the LIC head said.

So far transportation, as well as dairy, stockbreeding and vegetable farming have been ill-effected most by Russian embargo, according to Marius Skarupskas, the deputy Economy minister, who spoke at the LIC meeting.

He said the government has a stack of measures aiming to ease the sectors’ existence. Among them is hiring of foreign consultants tasked with making the transit to foreign markets easier-but he stopped short of saying whether the Social-Democratic government is going to respond to the embargo-hit sector’s tax alleviations or postponement pleas.

Lithuanian businessmen are cry-babies

But some Lithuanian prominent economists bristle against a thought of aiding the troubled sectors at the expense of others.

«I look at it realistically. It is not new that Lithuanian businessmen plea for help. It’s been always like that, regardless of whether Russian sanctions are into effect or not. I’d say whimpering is an exceptional characteristic of national business. But being aware that Lithuanian governments are virtually catering to the needs of cry-babies, I can bet that Government will give in to the sectors’ pleas. It will come at the expense of the public sectors-teachers, professors and doctors,» Aušra Maldeikienė, a prominent economist, told BNN.

Ref: 020/111.111.103.1448


Leave a reply

  1. Linda says:

    How is Kalingrad getting supplies? Closing borders here?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Rain and wet snow expected to come to Latvia next week

High atmospheric pressure will increase in strength next week. While Saturday, February 28th, will feature some precipitation in eastern parts of Latvia, Sunday will go by without any notable precipitation to speak of.

Tallink buys a next generation high-speed LNG ferry

Tallink Grupp and Meyer Turku Oy have signed a contract regarding the construction of a next generation high-speed LNG ferry. The ferry is planned to be used on a route that connects Tallinn and Helsinki.

European airports to toughen passenger baggage control

Sunday, March 1st, marks the coming into force of new regulations of the European Commission in regard to the screening of personal belongings at airports in Europe.

Construction costs in Latvia up by 1.4%

Compared to December 2013, the level of construction costs in Latvia in January 2015 had increased by 0.3%.

Latvia’s Gross Domestic Product rises by 2.4% in 2014

Compared to 2013, GDP at constant prices grew by 2.4% in Latvia 2014. Gross domestic product at current prices comprised 24.1 billion euro, in Q4 2014 – 6.5 billion euro.

Russian army corvette and submarine spotted near Latvian waters

This Friday, February 27th, Latvian National Armed forces identified two Russian Navy Parchim-class corvettes and one submarine in Latvian exclusive economic zone, nine nautical miles from territorial waters.

SIHP: changes to Kalku Street should not affect Old Riga’s aura

Development of trade in Riga is good. But it is important to ensure the Old Riga does not lose its aura once new shops start emerging there, said Director of State Inspection for Heritage Protection Juris Dambis.

Lithuania goes back to conscripts army

Lithuania is ramping up its defence returning to conscripts army with roughly 3500 lads aged 20-26 to be putting on boots for the mandatory ninth month’s service as soon as September. If approved by the Parliament, it will be addition to the country’s professional army comprising of approximately 20,000 professional servicemen now.

Kalnmeiers has received «hints» to change his attitude toward some politicians

Prosecutor General Eriks Kalnmeiers says he does not feel political pressure of any kind. However, there have been specific «hints», and he expects there will be more of them until his term is up, as reported by lsm.lv.

Prosecutor’s office raises charges against head of Jelgava polyclinic

Zemgale District Court Prosecutor's Office has raised charges against the head of Jelgava polyclinic Anna Ziverte for abuse of power, according to information from LETA.

LRA officially nominates Bondars as its presidential candidate

This Thursday, February 26th, Latvian Regional Alliance made the decision to officially nominate the party’s leader and 12th Saeima deputy Martins Bondars as its official candidate for the post of President of Latvia.

The majority of Latvians who have higher education live in Riga and Pieriga

According to information acquired from Population Census Data for 2011, territories with typically high share of population with higher education or PhD in Latvia are Riga and Pieriga region, Jelgava, Cesis, Talsi and Kuldiga.

Coalition to discuss next presidential candidate with NGOs

Parties of the ruling coalition in Latvia have agreed to hold joint discussions in regard to the next presidential candidate with non-governmental organisations, as confirmed by Unity leader Solvita Aboltina.

Wage rise in Latvia – most rapid since economic recovery

In 2014, growth in average wages and salaries witnessed the most rapid growth since the recovery of the Latvian economy. In 2014, average monthly gross wages and salaries in the country accounted for EUR 765, and compared to 2013 it is a growth of 6.8% or EUR 49.

Tourists in Riga are interested the most in shopping, night life and SPA

Last year, Riga’s hotels and other tourist accommodations had been visited by 1,122,926 guests, which is 15.6% more than in 2013. The number of nights spent in Riga has increased by 10% - reaching 1,953,199.

Mist fades; first aircraft finally lands in Riga airport

As the mist continues to gradually fade away, flight restrictions are being lifted as well. The first aircraft has already landed in Riga International Airport, as reported by LETA.

Researcher: chronic dissatisfaction with income is characteristic to Latvians

The level of income of 32% of Latvians has increased over the last five years. Income of 30% of Latvians has decreased. Income of 29% of Latvians has not changed at all.

Kalku Street in Old Riga to be developed as a shopping area

The real estate financing deal worth EUR 28 million has concluded. As a result, Old Riga’s main artery – Kalku Street – will be developed as a family-friendly shopping area.

Saeima to decide on changes to vocational education regulation

This Thursday, February 26th, the Saeima will discuss amendments to the Vocational Education Law that are aimed to provide a closer link between this education system and the needs of the market.

Tusk: additional sanctions against Russia remain on the table

The European Union has yet to refuse the opportunity to increase sanctions against Russia should the situation in Ukraine deteriorates further, said President of the European Council Donald Tusk.

Ukraine sees day with no casualties and week without currency trading

Since ceasefire in the war against Ukraine came into force on February 15, Tuesday, February 24, was the first day with no reported casualties among troops. Ukraine’s central bank has, meanwhile, introduced a ban on hryvnia currency trade.

Electronic signature application range to be expanded

The range of application of secure electronic signatures in Latvia will soon be expanded. This is provided by amendments to the law that were supported by the Saeima National Economy Committee.

National Alliance politician Andris Vilks puts down his Saeima mandate

Saeima deputy Andris Vilks from the National Alliance has decided to put down his parliamentarian mandate in order to avoid casting a shadow on his political party.

Dzanuškāns&partneri divides after scandalous EUR 35,000 survey

Following the scandal revolving around a low-quality survey worth EUR 35,000 for Riga City Council, Dzanuškāns&partneri Attorney-at-Law office has divided.

Lucky coincidence saves person from drowning; rescuers urge people to stay off the ice

Many large bodies of water in Latvia are no longer iced over or the ice that remain on their surface is thin and weak. In spite of the fact that it is no longer safe to remain on ice, there are some people who will tempt fate from time to time.