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World Bank experts criticize Riga and Ventspils ports

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Аuthor: Lita Krone/LETAOn Tuesday, May 7, representatives of the World Bank criticized Riga and Ventspils ports in their assessment of the Latvian port sector’s competitiveness and management.

The Tuesday revealed report included an analysis of port activity and management status. The final report, which will include proposals on how to improve the situation, is expected to be presented this summer.

The current report includes many known facts about cargo structure and port management principles.

Some conclusions are rather critical. The use of very old infrastructure is criticized, as is the transit dependence on countries that have their own ports. It is mentioned that Latvia’s ports have reduced their market shares in the region in the last 12 years, in spite of the last year’s increase of handled cargo. The market share of Latvian ports has reduced from 37% to 21%.

It is also concluded that there are problems with servicing large ships. For example: Riga is developing the planned canal deepening and cargo terminal modernization too slowly than it needs to be.

After evaluation the ports management Boards it was concluded that there are no representatives with experience in the private sector. Experts also noted that there were no specific terms in the contracts of Board members. According to experts, there is not enough coordination between port Boards and railway management. It is advised to review options how to prevent bureaucratic obstacles.

The survey by the World Bank was carried out in two stages – analysis of the current situation and proposal of options to improve the situation.

Autumn last year, the Saeima National Economy, Agriculture, Environment and Regional Policy Commission voiced a proposal to attract international experts from the World Bank in order to assess the competitiveness of the country’s ports and future cargo flow.

Former leader of the Saeima commission Vyacheslav Dombrovskis previously heavily criticized the working group formed by the Transport Ministry in order to assess the situation. Dombrovskis said the working group was formed only to “minimize” proposals for reforms. All hopes to continue the reforms were placed on the survey carried out by the World Bank.

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