The situation in Latvia’s transit and logistics sector is negatively impacted by multiple negative factors – unfavourable geopolitical conditions, economic sanctions and counter measures, reduction of energy prices, currency exchange decline in Russia and halted investments in large industrial projects in Russia, notes Director of Transport Ministry’s Transit Policy Department Andris Maldups.
As previously reported, on Thursday, 5 May, Latvian Ports, Transit and Logistics Council discussed matters related to Latvia’s transit industry, problematic factors and proposals to resolve them.
In order to reduce the influence of negative factors on Latvia’s ports, transit and logistics sector, multiple support measures have been carried out. In August 2014, the government decided on benefits for companies that suffered from economic sanctions. The government also supported multiple customs-governing regulations proposed by TM.
The ministry also participated in exploring new markets, with a focus on cooperation with China, serving as a hub for Chinese product distribution in Scandinavia and North Europe. Cooperation with China is also carried out in the realization of China’s New Silk Road initiative – One Belt, One Road, which provides for improved connectivity development on the Eurasian continent, as noted by the ministry.
In parallel to that, Latvia also actively participates in multiple transport and logistics exhibitions. Regular meetings of the Logistics Council are also carried out to coordinate actions, as reported during the meeting.
In order to enhance transit in Latvia, a state single transit corridor offer will be developed in accordance with the needs of specific clients and to secure additional cargoes from Eastern Asia. In order to successfully realize this goal, the Ports Council decided to address the matter regarding the transformation of LDz Cargo Logistics into a subsidiary of Latvijas dzelzceļš. The council asked the company’s management to support this matter at the 10 May Cabinet of Ministers meeting.
During the meeting, the Transport Ministry also reported on the co-financing options of the Connecting Europe Facility for the realization of Latvia’s transport infrastructure projects. The total planned funding from CEF budget for 2014-2020 transport infrastructure projects is EUR 26.4 billion.
LDz informed the council of the railway infrastructure projects part of EU funds’ 2014-2020 planning period and progress with their realization.
The ministry also informed the council of the recent developments with EU’s TEN-T network. Currently the highest level of activity is noted in the development of the North Sea – Baltic Sea corridor.
Finance Ministry provided information on progress with the adoption of Latvia’s Customs Law and amendments to other customs-related regulations. Finance Ministry’s also reported information on delayed payment rates in other EU member states and tax debt rate reduction in Latvia. The Ports Council decided to go with a reduction of delayed payment rate to stimulate the country’s investment climate. Finance Ministry, Transport Ministry and NGOs will have to reach an agreement in regards to the most optimal solution for this matter in order to comply with interests of the state and businessmen.
Janis Endzins, Chairman of Latvia’s Chamber for Commerce and Industry reported information about the upcoming EXPO 2017 in Kazakhstan next year. He said that Latvian businessmen support Latvia’s participation in EXPO 20175, because it will help promote Latvia’s image in cooperation between Central Asia and Europe and improve cooperation with Kazakhstan.