«The assessment of the terminal’s capability only by considering actual transshipment volumes is not only incorrect but also misleading. The amount of transshipment is only one of many criteria in assessing a terminal. In addition, quality of storage services, market conditions, competence of employees, cost-efficient transportation of cargo to the terminal, port performance, legislative framework, and business friendliness of the operating environment are other key indicators that significantly contribute to a terminal reaching its potential. Unfortunately, especially the inconsistent and unpredictable legal framework, together with a hostile business environment characterises the state of doing business in Ventspils,» – as explained by VNT Managing Director Lars Pantzlaff.
As a company, VNT has been performing stable over the years in the context of cargo turnover, safety and quality of operations, financial performance, enabling it to make steady tax payments to the state and its institutions. VNT proved its attractiveness as an employer, and its quality operations are recognised among its customers.
The statement of Ventspils Freeport Authority that VNT uses only 25 percent of its capacity is factually incorrect. Even more misleading is the statement made by the chairman of the board of Ventspils Freeport on 14 September 2016 that since foreign investors are managing the terminal, the transshipment volumes have declined. Actual data clearly proves that during the decade before 2006, the year of ownership change at VNT, the average annual transshipment volumes have been significantly lower than all years following 2006.
While to date the hostile business and investor climate in Ventspils prohibits normal business activity and business development, VNT has repeatedly stated to municipal and government bodies, as well as Ventspils Freeport Authority, that there are significant potential opportunities to stabilise or increase cargo flows to Ventspils port. However, it can be achieved if not only the Ventspils municipality and Ventspils Freeport Authority, but also the state, start to take a more active and supportive role to support the company in running and developing its business. This refers to the Vapour Recovery Unit (VRU) project planned by VNT but also to any other development activity.
As a result of the installation of the VRU, VNT plans to increase the range of products it is allowed to tranship, which would lead to new cargo flows for VNT, thus also benefiting the Ventspils port, Ventspils city, and the Latvian state in general. City officials, deliberately or misinformed, raise incorrect concerns about these new products even though their transshipment is only planned in connection with the use of the VRU. Moreover, an operation with similar products is already being performed by other companies in Ventspils Freeport.
VNT would appreciate if Ventspils City Council and Ventspils Freeport Authority instead of concentrating on explaining poor port performance, rather concentrate their management resources and energy on supporting VNT to unlock its potential to contribute to port performance and local and state economy.
VNT provides transit services – receipt, storage and handling of crude oil and petroleum products that come by pipelines, rail tank cars and tankers. VNT is a technologically advanced terminal and the largest crude oil and petroleum products transshipment company in the Baltic States with a total tank capacity of 1.2 million cubic meters. 51% of VNT is owned by JSC Ventspils nafta.