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Report Published: "Latvia Shipping Report Q3 2013"

New Transportation market report from Business Monitor International: "Latvia Shipping Report Q3 2013"


Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/15/2013 -- 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 2013, despite demonstrating growth in tonnage slower than at the port of Ventspils in the last two years.

In terms of containers, Riga has a strong position to build on in 2013, enhanced by robust double-digit yearon- year (y-o-y) increase in box volumes in each of the last three years.

Over the medium term, we project further box throughput growth at the port of Riga and total throughput growth at Ventspils. Ventspils, the country's second largest port in terms of the total throughput, continued its recovery in 2012, and now its tonnage levels are close to the ones it had before the downturn.

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Headline Industry Data

- 2013 port of Riga tonnage throughput forecast to decrease 6%, over the medium term we project it to remain flat.
- 2013 port of Riga container throughput forecast to grow 6%, over the medium term we project a 27% increase.
- 2013 total trade growth forecast at 5.5%.

Key Industry Trends

Slowdown at the Ports after Strong 2012: Throughput at Latvian ports fell by 6.9% year on year in the first four months of 2013 after a 5.8% growth in 2012. Cargo handling amounted to 25.24mn tonnes of cargo. Last year 27.11mn tonnes of cargo were handled by Latvian ports in January-April.

Portek Acquires Riga Universal Terminal: Portek International Pte Ltd (Portek), Singapore-based international port operator and a subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., Ltd of Japan has acquired 80% stake in Riga Universal Terminal (RUT) in April 2013. RUT's board has been replaced and is now headed by Takao Omori, CEO of Portek.

Risks to Outlook

The base for container throughput growth at Latvia's ports stems from BMI's positive outlook for the country's economy, with real GDP growth of 3.5% anticipated for 2013. 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.

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.

Russia's development of the Ust-Luga port near St Petersburg, as it seeks to handle a larger percentage of its own trade needs, creates another important downside risk to our forecasts as it is set to place downward pressure on Baltic states' port throughput.

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