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Friday 20.07.2018 | Name days: Ramona, Ritma
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Antāne: I will talk about Transport Ministry without name-calling, I am above that

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUBaltic Association – Transport and Logistics organized a press-conference at Bergs Hotel on Wednesday, 13 September. During this conference, the association reported on the proposed action plan with specific objectives and deadlines for the government.

Members of the association also invited Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis to take charge in talks with industry representatives, considering that talks with Transport Ministry and minister Uldis Augulis have reached a dead end.

After the official portion of the conference, in which BATL president Inga Antāne, Ventbunkers economy and budget office manager Ivars Landmanis, Baltic Expresis chairman Māris Bremze and Ventspils Commercial Port board member Jānis Hāze discussed topical problems in the industry and answered questions from the audience.

It is important to emphasize that Antāne, opening the discussion about the industry’s problems, said: «It is not just about transit, but also about Latvia’s economy as a whole. The industry provides 8,000 jobs and brings the state budget around one billion euros every year.»

The conference pointed to the trend for processed cargo volumes to decline. «This is the reality,» said BATL president. She added that it is necessary to review costs, the current loan volume and the tariff, which is set to grow by 7% next year.

Antāne emphasized the widely criticized matter regarding the electrification of Latvia’s railway: «Latvia cannot afford electrification at the moment. We have proposed modernizing existing infrastructure multiple times in the past. Unfortunately, our cries fell on deaf ears.»

«Wars broke out because of lack of communication, and I don’t want to fight. We believe the prime minister should take over talks,» said Antāne.

«Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently publicly said that no more cargoes from Russia will be sent to Latvian ports next year! The transit industry already feels the effect from this because coordination of transport schedules with Russia is already poor. This decision from Russia will have a strong impact for the transit industry, the country’s tax revenue and employment,» BATL employees previously said.

«Transport Ministry, which is responsible for the industry, has pretended to be deaf to the industry’s pleas for years. Incompetent and ruinous decisions, formal declines, lack of communication with the industry and continued inaction over the years has led to a situation when the country’s second largest national economy sector, which provides a considerable contribution to the GDP and employs thousands of people, stands on the brink of a crisis,» experts added.

It should be noted that Transport Ministry reacted to criticisms today, saying that «BATL president Inga Antāne ruins the industry’s reputation in the public space and in the eyes of potential platforms by voicing unjustified criticisms towards the ministry, Cabinet of Ministry, LDz and other businessmen working in the sector.» It is noted that is happening in a time when state representatives are working in different formats in cooperation with private businessmen on expansion of cargo corridors and attraction of potential cooperation partners.

In response to ministry’s emotional statement to the press, Antāne said information published by the government does not include any realistic statistical data. «Not a single digit. I am prepared to discuss these matters, but I am old enough not to resort to name-calling.»

As for Transport Ministry’s objections that BATL representatives do not participate in meetings and have not constructive proposals to offer, Antāne told BNN that criticisms are unjustified, which was proven by the conference in question, during which multiple proposals were mentioned. «I participate in all meeting unless something unexpected happens. I also notify participating parties if I am not able to attend meetings in advance. Finally, I always share proposals, even if I am not able to attend meetings in person,» Antāne said.

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