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Ceturtdiena 09.04.2020 | Name days: Valērija, Žubīte
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Minister: the state may have to invest in port terminals to secure freights

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Tālis Linkaits, Belarus, economy, freights, Riga, Ventspils, Liepaja, transit

Latvian Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits

It is possible state should invest in port terminals to secure, for example, freights from Belarus, said Latvian Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits in an interview to LTV programme Rīta Panorāma, commenting on potential cooperation with Belarus in transportation of oil products.

«It would be good if the state owned one of the terminals, because Belarus is used to working with state guarantees and state-owned structures. If we fail, we will have to look where the state can invest to secure cargo freights,» said Linkaits, adding that all port terminals are private, which makes decision-making based solely on their business interests.

He also stressed that the state should consider where to invest in the event of there being no terminals prepared to service available freights.

«If the situation does turn out in a way when there are freights and the desire to send them but no terminals prepared to service said freights, then the state will have to look where to invest,» said the minister.

He also said Belarus has reached out to multiple terminals both in Riga and Ventsils, and this matter is being resolved. «It is a matter of time. I would rather have the process go faster, but it is the decision of private terminals,» said Linkaits.

At the same time, he also stressed that Latvian ports technically are able to service oil and oil products to and from Belarus. «We are working on securing these freights,» said Linkaits.

Linkaits says there are technical opportunities to organize the delivery of Belarusian oil by Riga and Ventspils ports, as well as using the terminal at Liepaja port.

«If we see that because of some political reasons of shareholders these technical opportunities are not used, Latvia will have to look for other solutions to secure freights, which is both in the interest of the state and the transit industry,» says Linkaits.

He explained that one option is that if terminal owners oppose and look for different arguments to not secure cargo volumes, Latvian state will have to look for counter-arguments and perform actions against those terminals.

When asked if there is such a need to look for solutions, Linkaits said it is part of the negotiations process. «If we see no progress in the nearest future, we will look for a different solution,» said the minister.

Linkaits did not reveal who is engaged in negotiations, commenting ‘those are only details’. According to him, there are three options available to secure oil freights from Belarus – Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja.

Read also: Linkaits: banks once again service Ventspils Freeport terminals

«Technically it is not possible to create a new terminal, so we would need a legal structure that would allow us the use opportunities of terminals that do not want to do it themselves,» said the minister.

As previously reported, Latvian ports had serviced 62.379 million tonnes of freights last year, which is 5.7% less when compared to 2018.


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