The market of cargo transit through Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia is in a downright unpleasant condition, named as “the beginning of crisis”. This is like influenza. The person already knows that he fell ill, still goes to work and struggles to keep goodie. But it has become clear that he needs to prepare to wage shrinking, since the sick is on piecework. It only seems to get worse.
The Latvian ports for nine months of this year handled 45.9 million tons of cargo —12.9% less than within the corresponding period of 2015.
The gravest losses were marked in the component of cargo traffic called “Bulk cargo”. Over three quarters 15.5 million tons (-22.5%) of them passed through Latvian harbours. The majority of them falls at oil derivates — 14.946 million tons (-22.8%). Crude oil was handled in the amount of 42.4 thousand tons (-44.6%).
As for preferences of freighters the leader in terms of cargo traffic for nine months was Freeport of Riga, which handled 26.8 million tons (-10.5%). Then follows Ventspils harbour with cargo traffic of 14.04 million tons (-20.5%) and Liepaja Port with 3.87 million tons (-2.3%).
Another point is more interesting. While the Latvian ports at different speeds lose Russian cargos, the Lithuanian harbours gain turnovers. So, Klaipeda in January – September of this year handled 29.89 million tons, which is 3.4% more than within the same period a year ago. Butinge handled 6.8 million tons (+6.5%).
Growth of the Lithuanian transit is gained thanks to cross-subsidies of cargo transportation. The railway transit of Lithuania has two main flows: the Belarusian transit and very large logistics of cargo from inland Russia to Kaliningrad enclave. At that the Belorussian transit en route from Minsk through Vilnius to the terminals of Klaipeda is subsidized out of profits from Russian transit.
As known, immediately outside Minsk in Smolevichi a Chinese – Belarusian industrial park Great Stone is under construction. The Lithuanian railways and ports of Klaipeda want to seize the entire logistics of production of this park towards the Baltic Sea. The tariff of the Lithuanian railway monopolist in the amount of 3 euro per cargo ton is twice cheaper than the Latvian railway can offer for cargo from Smolevichi.
Dumping owning to cross-subsidies, anyhow, is not eternal. In EU the scheme of cross subsidy of the transit industry of Lithuania is being investigated already. As expected, the actions of the Lithuanians would be acknowledged unlawful, annulled, and the southern neighbours would be fined.
And that’s when within the framework of promotion of New Silk Route Latvia can make its single offer from the ports to cargo logistics. Exactly this offer should increase the cargo traffic to the Latvian ports. This is theory. What would happen in practice would become clear next year.