At the end of last year, the Board of the Freeport of Riga approved a new port development programme for the upcoming decade, which was presented to representatives of media and involved parties last week. The Development Programme 2019-2028 provides for significantly expanded operations at the Port of Riga, facilitating industrialisation and the entry of new companies into the territory of the Freeport of Riga. Likewise, the new Development Programme places greater focus on the development of passenger transport, while simultaneously maintaining strategic areas of operation: attracting new cargo, cargo diversification, development of port infrastructure and improvement of the port administration model.
“Following global trends, the Freeport of Riga has changed its operation strategy. The times when cargoes were “looking for” a port are over; in the current situation, both the port administration and companies operating in the port must work to attract cargoes and strive for their diversification, as well as be ready for any changes in cargo nomenclature. In the new development plan, we have focused our attention on industrialisation: we will promote the development of production and services with added value, as well as more effective use of the port territory and attraction of development projects for vacant territories in the Freeport of Riga”, emphasised Ansis Zeltiņš, CEO of the Freeport of Riga.
The development programme for the upcoming decade is based on a large-scale market study carried out by specialists at the Freeport of Riga in cooperation with local and international experts in the field, as well as consultants from the Port of Rotterdam Authority. Based on the market analysis, container cargoes, agricultural and forestry cargoes are identified in the new development programme as potential cargo types for the Freeport of Riga. Likewise, the passenger transport segment displays great development potential.
The Freeport of Riga Development Programme 2019-2028 outlines two scenarios for cargo increases, i.e. minimum and optimistic variants. The optimistic scenario stipulates that the total cargo turnover of the Freeport of Riga in the upcoming decade will increase to 41 million tonnes. The greatest contribution to this increase will be ensured by container cargoes, the volume of which in 2037 will exceed 1 million TEU. An increase in the number of passengers is also planned: from 830,000 in 2017 to 1 million in 2027. The minimum scenario, in turn, envisages a decrease in cargo turnover at the Freeport of Riga in the upcoming decade to 29 million tonnes, primarily due to a decrease in cargoes of energy resources. However, this scenario provides for an increase in the turnover of container cargo to 610,000 TEU in 2027.
The new Freeport of Riga Development Programme and clearly defined areas of development are crucial for entrepreneurs and investors operating in the port. “Merchants want to see where this port is headed, what signals port management is sending about how this port will develop in future. Therefore, this vision of development on the part of port administration is necessary: it envisions what we want to become. Investment in port development is a very expensive affair which will pay off in years to come. Therefore, the vision of long-term cooperation is highly crucial for the port”, said Carlos Zepeda, Business Developer Port of Rotterdam International, justifying the need for the development programme.