Latvian Railways state-owned company has received an official notification from Russia that the railways connecting the two countries are in poor condition and will be repaired for the coming two months. In the given period of time, the designed capacity of the railways in the Latvian direction will be very low, LETA news agency reports.
Cargoes will be transported to Latvia for another ten days before the repairs are launched. The leadership of the Latvian Railways has no data on the railway sections that will undergo repairs. Representatives of the Latvian Railways and the Ministry for Communications will travel to Moscow shortly to verify all the details. Representatives of the Russian Railways OJSC inform that the cargo traffic to Latvia may be stopped fully. According to the information of Aivars Straksas, the acting head of the Latvian Railways, the cargoes intended for Latvia may be sent to Ust-Luga, a Russian port. However, he said, Head of the Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin is on a leave and no information has been received from him yet.
In his turn, Vice President of the Latvian Railways Ēriks Šmuksts said the Russian Railways “did not inform timely of the planned repairs, though they do not do so usually.” Latvia has not estimated the consequences of the two-month suspension of the transit. For the time being, nearly 4 million tons of cargoes are transited to Latvia via Russia.
Earlier EADaily reported that yesterday, Latvian Minister for Communications and Works Anrijs Matīss and Riga Vice Mayor Andris Ameriks received unofficial information on possible suspension of the transit of the Russian coal and mineral fertilizers via the Riga Port. Later, Riga Mayor Nils Ušakovs said this may lead to mass layoffs of the railway and port staffs – over 70,000 people may be affected.
It should be noted that the Riga Free Port transferred 23.709 million tons of cargoes for seven months of 2015, which is by 1% more than for the same period of 2014 – 41.08 million tons – by 15.8% more than in 2013.