In the first five months of 2016 Ventspils nafta terminals transshipped a total of 3.8 million metric tons of oil products, equal to a decrease of 27% compared to the same period in the previous year.
Volatility in the oil market, the cost of transportation to a terminal, terminal efficiency, the performance of a port, and the ability of a terminal to play a significant role with respect to the ability of a terminal to attract product flows. Over the years, VNT has made its own significant efforts to improve its efficiency of services and the company feels well positioned in today’s competitive environment.
VNT Managing Director Lars Pantzlaff states: ” Hence from the moment of change of ownership in the terminal in 2006, we have diligently worked on improving our internal efficiency to compete with the highest standards. We focus on sustainability of the company by looking at new opportunities to expand our portfolio of services and protect the overall transshipment volumes of the terminal.”
The environmental impact of businesses on the local environment is a concern frequently addressed by authorities in Ventspils. As a company, VNT is fully supportive of its role and responsibility with respect to environmental protection. Therefore, after finally agreeing with its neighbour AS Ventbunkers on the land plot, VNT is in the process of placing and building a permanent vapour recovery unit (VRU) in the area of the jetties. VNT believes that the installation of VRU will elevate the level of environmental standards in the city and positively contribute to a stable cargo turnover in the port.
While Ventspils Freeport Authority is reporting declining cargo volumes, also explicit to VNT, and the subsequent financial adverse effects in general for Ventspils Freeport Authority and the city of Ventspils, at the same time neither Ventspils Freeport Authority nor municipality makes much effort to find means to provide support for developments which ultimately secure future cargo flows to the Ventspils port.
«I am a true believer in the attractiveness and potential of VNT and Latvia, specifically Ventspils, as a transit hub for liquid cargoes, but developing our company in Ventspils with the view of securing and attracting cargo flows is very difficult. We are now for a few years in a situation where City Council imposed a ban on our permits with the condition that this ban will be lifted once we have communicated a clear plan as to the implementation of the permanent VRU to both Ventspils Freeport Authority and Ventspils City Council. We have communicated such clear plan already six months ago, but Ventspils City Council continues to speculate about our true intentions. Ventspils City Council, as it pointed out correctly, has not received any official construction permit application with respect to the permanent VRU. We are very well aware of that, as other approvals need to be obtained first from a number of institutions, including Ventspils Freeport Authority. However, as Ventspils City Council is represented by four people in the board of Ventspils Freeport Authority, it is actually very well aware of our plan to install a permanent VRU,» – explains Lars Pantzlaff.
Despite the numerous reminders from VNT, the important subject of administering a land plot for the placement of the permanent VRU keeps being pushed from one board meeting to the next for four months. The matter of VRU technical regulations to be issued by Ventspils Freeport Authority is now open for five months.
Lars Pantzlaff admits: «VNT has been prepared to employ a mobile temporary VRU already since 15 May 2016. However, the placement of the container on a temporary basis has neither been approved yet by Ventspils Freeport Authority as it insists on a sublease for an area of 30 m2, whereas the law allows for a non-bureaucratic approach. In the meantime though we are adjusting our operations to address environmental protection measures. While our commitment towards environmental protection is high, the conditions we encounter are not supportive of cargo transhipment via the port of Ventspils. In this context what is being said by local authorities and the Ventspils Freeport Authority and what actually is being done does not fit very well together.»