Latviski English По-русски
Saturday 21.07.2018 | Name days: Meldra, Meldris, Melisa

New port terminal project causes collision of interests of Šķēle, Ameriks and Republic of Belarus

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn the plans to create a new oil product handling terminal at Riga Freeport, Kundzinsala, a collision of interests has taken place, which involves Andris Šķēle, Republic of Belarus and Andris Ameriks.

The war in Ukraine has created risks and new opportunities for Riga Freeport. Companies working at the port have received information that Russia may start exporting its oil products through St Petersburg and Ustyug next year. For Belarus, on the other hand, it is the other way around – there is now a necessity to expand its Baltic transit corridor, because it is no longer safe to pump oil products through Ukraine, as reported by Nekā personīga programme of TV3.

In parallel, Belarus also holds talks with Lithuania. Belarus has also started exporting potassium salt through Klaipeda this summer. If no agreement is reached with Latvia in the nearest future, there is a risk that cargoes like crude, petrol and diesel fuel from Belarus companies will also leave.

«[…] we need to decide between Riga and Klaipeda. It also largely depends on the level of interest from ministries to have cargoes be carried through Riga. We have lost mineral fertilizers from Belarus to Klaipeda. They have left Ventspils. We do not want to lose oil products as well,» – says Latvian Transport Minister Anrijs Matiss.

Skonto būve’s co-owner Ivars Millers has been a cooperation partner for Belarus at Riga Freeport for more than a year. He has been leased 59 ha of land on the northern part of Kundzinsala in exchange for the promise to build an enormous container logistical part work EUR 170 million there. The idea with the logistical park failed and Miller instead decided to focus on the oil terminal project. Belarus decided to believe Miller’s promise. This was also benefited by the fact that ex-Prime Minister Andris Šķēle had been chosen as Millers’ consultant. Nevertheless, as a precaution, Belarus had also sent its ambassador to Riga City Council in order to receive confirmation from the local administration that there will be investments in the oil product terminal. However, they were not expecting ecological resistance. ‘In regard to the Northern terminal, I can say that I am very sceptical about oil products being handled there, because Riga City Council had declined two previous proposals from Mantess and Naftas serviss,’ – sais Andris Ameriks.

It is also worth checking if the contract with Millers’ company should be kept valid, because the businessman promised to invest only EUR 42 million in the oil terminal, not EUR 170 million as it was with the container terminal. «Businessmen have submitted their letters, but they have not submitted their business plans. Right now there is only a wish to change conditions of their lease contracts,» – said Ameriks.

After such a cold shower, oil exporters from Belarus did not rush to Klaipeda port, because they do not want to concentrate their export in a single port. Prime Minister of Belarus Mikhail Myasnitsky had told Latvian President Andris Berzins about these problems during their meeting in New York, USA. Upon his return to Riga, Berzins asked his advisor Aivis Ronis to handle this problem and travel to Belarus to calm down exporters of the neighbouring state. Ronis took consultant Andris Šķēle with him.

«The most important right now is to make sure there is cargo flow for Latvian ports. At the same time, it is important to diversify countries that send cargoes. As we see with the case of potassium, BY is capable enough to reach a long-term agreement with Klaipeda. The question is this – what does Riga have to do in order to make sure BY remains stays here? This is what my client has asked of me. My client is I.Millers, a man with a good reputation and high professional integrity,» – notes Šķēle.

It is possible that Šķēle has other interests in the oil transit project with Belarus. Kundzinsala’s Northern project belonged to Millers until September 2014. It then passed to a company that was once owned by the Šķēle family. By October 8th, its owner became Pic LV, which does not show owners in its enterprise register entry. Its Council Chairman is Millers’ son Kristaps and Deputy Chairman – businessman Edgars Dupats. Šķēle’s daughter Madara has changed her surname and is now Madara Šķēle – Dupate. Businessman Dupats is also Chairman of the Council of Liepaja Bus Park, half of which belongs to Šķēle’s family.

This week, Riga Freeport had increased rent fees for Kundzinsala’s Northern Project three times, because the company has not done anything. Mayor of Riga Nil Ushakov does not have such a strong ecological position as his colleague Ameriks. He is not prepared to sit down and talk with the delegation from Belarus. However, it is not even known if the delegation ever plans to hold any talks with Latvia. Businessmen from Belarus plan to hold talks about cargo exports to Klaipeda next week. «It is clear that the current situation abroad and competition do not hold anything good for Riga Freeport and the region. Diversification is always a welcome initiative, but we should also keep in mind that we also have a rather large neighbour when it comes to transit. There is no diversification that could potentially move this neighbour away. Replacing this neighbour with a new one is slightly out of our range of competence,» – said Ushakov.


Leave a reply

SRS: cash register reform still stagnates, but has become much faster than it was last year

The cash registers reform continues stagnating. However, it has become much faster than it was a year ago, as reported by State Revenue Service.

Specialists to search for solutions to topical environmental problems in Ventspils

On Friday, 20 July, a meeting was held between Ventspils Commercial Port representatives and specialists from State Environment Service.

Children with functional disorders to receive services financed by EU funds

Child invalids will have access to social services intended to improve their social skills and mobility. More than EUR 4.2 million has been allocated for this goal from the European Social Fund, as confirmed by Latvia’s Central Financing and Contracting Agency.

Producer price level in industry up 4.3% in Latvia

Compared to June 2017, the average level of producer prices in Latvian industry increased by 4.3 % in June 2018. Prices of products sold on the domestic market rose by 4.8 % and those of exported products by 3.7 %.

Total tax debts in Latvia in July – 1.212 billion euros

At the beginning of July total tax debts in Latvia, including outstanding debts, halted debts and debts applied with repayment term extensions, accounted for EUR 1.212 billion, which is 0.8% less than a month prior, according to data from the State Revenue Service.

Survey: every third Latvian resident has received illegal loan offers

Nearly every third resident in Latvia or 31% of respondents admit having received offers to use illegal loan services, as concluded in a survey performed by Latvian Alternative Financial Services Association and SKDS.

Libya opposed to EU's idea to establish migrant centres in North Africa

Libya is against the solution of the European Union to set up migrant centres in the North African country as a means to keep migrants from arriving in the bloc and Libya would not be convinced with financial support, its Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has noted.

Arrest warrant on Catalan ex-President cancelled by Spain

The Supreme Court of Spain cancelled a European arrest warrant for former Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont, as Germany refused to extradite him to face accusations of rebellion for declaring the independence of Spain's region, Catalonia in 2017.

Latvian government plans to allow handing expired food to charity

Latvia’s Agriculture Ministry has prepared amendments to the Law on the Supervision of the Handling of Food that provide permission to hand over certain types of food products to charity after the end of their expiry date.

Estonian industrial producer prices up 2.9% since June 2017

Estonian industrial producer price index has risen by 2.9% between June 2017 and the first summer month this year, resulting in an increase of export prices as well, Estonian statisticians have estimated.

Putin urges NATO to quit «irresponsibly» developing ties with Ukraine, Georgia

Russia's President Vladimir Putin cautioned NATO against developing deeper relations with Ukraine and Georgia, evaluating such a policy was irresponsible and would have consequences for the military alliance.

Latvian parliament not in a hurry to support president Vejonis for a second term

Political parties represented in the Saeima are not eager to support President Raimonds Vējonis for his remainder for a second term.

Weather in Latvia will remain warm and even hot at times

Weather in Latvia in the nearest couple of days will be dictated by a cyclone. Because of that the sky will be partially covered by clouds; thunderstorms are also expected, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Hungary sued in EU Court for criminalising help to illegal immigrants

The European Union's executive body has stated that a law in Hungary that criminalises support for illegal immigrants is in breach with EU law and Hungary has now been referred to the European Court of Justice for the alleged non-compliance.

Estonians buy alcohol in Latvia; country loses EUR 20 million in six months

Latvian stores located close to the Latvian-Estonian border have sold 1.6 million litres of strong alcoholic drinks in the first half year of 2019. This means Estonia has lost more than EUR 20 million in taxes, according to data from Association of Estonian Alcohol Producers and Importers.

Lithuania’s election watchdog slams ruling LFGU over popular TV series

Political messages can be channeled in various ways and the ruling now Lithuanian party, LFGU has chosen a very delicate way of the communications – through a TV series featuring the beauty and the ambiance of Naisiai, a picturesque settlement in Siauliai district.

Association: around 3,3000 people know of their HIV infection but receive no treatment

HIV remains a serious problem in Latvia – around 3,300 people are aware of their status but receive no treatment and continue spreading the infection. Because of that, it is necessary to act quickly for Latvia to lose its status as HIV kingdom and limit the spread of the infection, says Baltic HIV Association, informing decision-makers and responsible officials in institutions and hospitals about the HIV/AIDS situation.

Driver shortage may force reduction of international road haulage volumes

Latvia’s road haulage companies have started experiencing shortage of drivers. On top of that, if employment conditions for residents of non-EU member states do not change, it may be necessary to reduce the volume of road haulage volumes, says Latvijas auto president Valdis Trēziņš.

Lattelecom’s turnover up 9% in first half-year of 2018

Lattelecom Group’s turnover reached EUR 98.7 million in the first half-year of 2018, growing by 9% in comparison with the same period of 2017, according to unaudited financial results.

1,140 fewer births registered in Latvia in 2017

Since 2016 the number of births in Latvia is declining again. Compared to 2016, a total of 1,140 births fewer were registered in 2017. Also, the provisional number of births registered over the first six months of 2018 (9,664 children) is by 664 children smaller than that registered over the respective period of 2017.

Citadele Bank decides to reform Lithuanian subsidiary as a branch office

Citadele Bank has decided to reform its Lithuanian subsidiary as a branch office, as confirmed in the statement the bank submitted to Nasdaq Riga.

Russian pension age hike discussed amid protest outside Duma

As the Russian paliament votes on the proposal to gradually increase he pension age to 65 for men and 63 for women, some 200 people were seen protesting against the reform in Moscow.

Corruption watchdog chief says bureau has done no illegal actions

After going through Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau’s past investigative activities, the bureau’s chief – Jēkabs Straume – found it confusing that officers often took no appropriate actions after acquiring evidence or receiving indications regarding necessary steps.

Illegal border crossings to Estonia on rise after Russia World Cup

Football fans with temporary residency permits of the Russia World Cup, or fan Ids, are trying to illegally cross the Russian border with Estonia, a member of the European Union.

Estonian 13-year-old lethally overdoses fentanyl

Estonian prosecutors have accused a 15-year old of negligent homicide after a girl, 13, passed away from fentanyl overdose.