Even though the number of tourist that want to use the Canal motorboat company (CMC) services and Riga Tourism Agency (RTA) boats is sufficient, the lack of normative regulations caused a sharp internal rhetoric and the involvement of different institutions in waging war against competitors.
The fact that there is no lack of clients and transporting tourists along the Riga city canal is a lucrative business is also confirmed by the owner of CMC AInis Caunans and RTA owner Kaspars Laurovs. Meanwhile, in the end of May, the Riga City Council’s Transport Department and the Home and Environment Department were ordered to develop appropriate rules for passenger transport in the city’s canals.
Currently, businessmen are not too choosy in describing each other’s activities. «Competitors chose to follow the illegal path,»- Caunans says. Boats are not registered at the Latvian Maritime Administration, legal commercial activity is not performed and passengers are simply taken on board and transported. Competitor boats are not insured, captains are not qualified, boats dock at inappropriate places on the sides of the canal, etc.
His dissatisfaction is also due to the fact that the CMC won the contest of Riga City Council’s Home and Environment Department for the right to use the previously publicly open pier in Bastejkalns. The company pays the city 16 thousand LVL (no VAT). The company wanted the city council to perform a more active restriction of illegal business. Caunans noted at the Riga City Council Security, Order and Prevention of Corruption Committee that the Municipal Police does not punish perpetrators. Meanwhile, a security firm was recently hired to guard the rented pier, so that competitors would not be able to use it.
RTA continues to use other publicly open pier for its three boats, taking passengers in Kronvalds Park. «Competitors constantly complain, even though we work with the same registered boats and companies,»- Laurovs denies the complaints. The only difference is that of all the publicly available piers, CMC is renting one and says that its legal now, RTA owner is being ironic. He sees political lobbying in the fact that there was not enough information about the contest, but the competitors’ offers were just a bit more expensive. And now, the political backstage wants to drive away any competitors from this business. The businessman is shocked that the City Council will not allow the company to build its own temporary pier. «Every year we add something new to our fleet, we still constantly fight competition wars and spend several hours a day in «intelligent» discussions with the Municipal Police and security firms,»- the businessman says.