Latvia is interested in export growth on new markets

Riga, Latvia, Feb. 18

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

Latvia is interested in increasing the export of its goods, especially food, to the new markets, State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Transport Kaspars Ozolins said in an interview with Trend.

He said that in particular, this is connected with the cessation of food exports from Latvia to Russia due to Moscow's restrictions.

"But we must find the markets where these products will be in demand," he said. "They may be popular in the CIS countries because everybody knows these products there. But it will be difficult to export to other countries because there are other principles of nutrition. We will have to supplement our products. As a result, we will obtain other, not our product that everyone knows."

He said that in particular, the shipments from Latvia to Azerbaijan have increased.

The previous agreement about increasing the number of vehicle transport permits for the both countries' companies for 2015 testifies to this.

The cargo shippers of each country obtained 250 permits for bilateral and transit freight transportation and 80 permits - for shipments to (from) the third countries.

For comparison: the initial quota was set at 200 permits for bilateral and transit transportation and 50 permits for cargo transportation to (from) the third countries in 2014. In case of necessity, the quota for 2015 can be increased.

"The potential to increase the turnover exists, but its implementation requires infrastructure," said Ozolins.

In order to deliver the goods to alternative markets, it is necessary to adjust supply via the existing rail infrastructure, according to the ministry representative. It is necessary that the goods would be delivered via the Black Sea and further transported by trucks, he said.

He also said that after the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway Latvia will consider the possibility of transporting goods along this route.

However, the most promising alternative market for the export of Latvian goods is China, according to Ozolins.

"This is a very serious potential partner, with whom a dialogue is currently being held," he said. "It is being discussed which certification Latvian businesses and products should have in order to meet the requirements of China."

"Transportation of goods in this direction is primarily possible via Baltic-Transit container train via Russia, as well as by air and sea," said the representative of the ministry.

He said that currently the Latvian goods, which were planned to be delivered to Russia, but the import of which was banned, were redirected to other EU countries.

Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being constructed on the basis of the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement.

The State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) finances the project in accordance with the Azerbaijani president's decree 'On the implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project activities' dated February 21, 2007.

A new 105-kilometer branch of the railroad is being constructed as part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, the railway's Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi section is under reconstruction in Georgia that will increase its capacity to 15 million metric tons of cargo per year.

A depot is under construction in Akhalkalaki for the transition of trains from the existing tracks in Georgia to the European ones.

The peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million metric tons of cargo per year. At the initial stage, this figure will be equal to one million passengers and 6.5 million metric tons of cargo. The railway is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2015.

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