Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/30/2014 -- Latvia - Q1 2014 The port of Riga is set to hold the top position in Latvia's maritime sector in terms of both total tonnage and container throughput in 2014, with both total and box throughput forecast to demonstrate growth. Riga has a strong position to build on in 2014 in terms of box throughput, enhanced by robust increases in volumes over the last four years.
Over the medium term, we project further container throughput growth at the port of Riga and total throughput growth at Ventspils, the country's second largest port in terms of the total throughput, which will try to resume recovery to its pre-downturn tonnage levels.
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Headline Industry Data
- 2014 port of Riga tonnage throughput forecast to grow 2%; over the medium term we project an 8% increase.
- 2014 port of Riga container throughput forecast to grow 5%; over the medium term we project a 25% increase.
- 2014 total trade growth forecast at 2.5%.
Key Industry Trends
Belarus Considers Expansion at Latvia's Ports: Belarus is deciding whether to build, rent or buy a bulk or general cargo terminal at one of Latvia's ports. Belarus is interested in additional infrastructure objects to tranship its exports. The landlocked country has a choice of Latvian, Lithuanian, Russian or Ukrainian ports, with Riga being the closest.
Riga Freeport Authority under Scrutiny: Latvia's Competition Council (CC) is continuing the investigation of the Riga Freeport Authority and Riga Freeport Fleet Ltd. 'malicious use of a dominant position'. BMI notes that these are not the first alleged irregularities being reported at the port of Riga.
Risks to Outlook
The base for container throughput growth at Latvia's ports stems in part from BMI's positive outlook for the country's economy, with real GDP growth of 4.1% anticipated for 2014. Our positive medium-term forecast for Latvia's ports' box throughput also holds upside risks, with Latvia getting better connected, displaying a solid domestic demand outlook and developing its role as a gateway for cargo to and from Russia and Central Asia. This upside risk is further enhanced by Russia's membership of the World Trade Organization, on the back of which Latvian ports expect to tranship more of its neighbour's imports and exports.
Japan's Portek's entry to the port of Riga offers upside risk over the short and medium term to both our total tonnage and container throughput forecasts.
The main risk to our forecasts for Latvia remains the persistent eurozone sovereign debt crisis. A further deepening of the crisis would pose downside risks to most of our forecasts for Latvia's economy and our port throughput projections.
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