In January-June 2015, the cargo traffic through the ports of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was by 4,996 million tons (6%) less than in January-June 2014, the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia has told an EADaily correspondent.
Throughout 2014, a total of 161.44 million tons of cargoes were transported through the Baltic ports, including 45.9% through the Latvian ports, 27.1% - Lithuanian ports and 27% - Estonian ones.
This year the share of Latvian ports in the total cargo traffic was 47.9%, Lithuanian ports – 28.4%, and Estonian ones – 23.7%. In January-June 2015, only Lithuanian ports demonstrated growth in cargo traffic as compared to January-June 2014 (the growth made up 5.3%, or 1.12 million tons). The Latvian ports experienced a 5% decline (1.969 mln tons), and the Estonian ones suffered an 18.3% decline (4.147 mln tons).
Experts explain the cargo traffic reduction in the Baltic countries by the fact that Russia is redirecting the goods traffic to its own ports. Last year's reports, in particular, say that the Russian ports (Ust-Luga, St. Petersburg and Primorsk) were the top three among the harbors on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea by the cargo traffic. The ports of the Baltic countries - Klaipėda, Riga and Ventspils – ranked next on the list.
To note, earlier Ugis Magonis, Chairman of the Board of “Latvian Railways” JSC, said that coal and oil derivatives from Russia make up no less than 77% of its cargo traffic. If that traffic remains at least at the current level, it will be a big success. “Russia has other ways to direct the transit goods,” Magonis said. In the meantime, he confessed that “the segment has no options, except Russia”. “Efforts are being made to use the Chinese market, but the cargo flow from China is still strongly questioned. The grain export from Kazakhstan is hampered by the high tariffs of transit via Russia and the long distance to Latvia. So, it is easier and more profitable for Kazakhstan to export its grain to neighboring China,” Magonis said.