Year 2020 ended with 6.6 million tons of various cargo handled, which is about 10% less than the cargo turnover in 2019. ''Port operations and transit business are very sensitive industries, and we felt it especially in 2020 - changes in the industry as a whole with the reduction of Russian cargo flows, the impact of the global pandemic and geopolitical aspects'', noted Mr. Uldis Sesks, Chairman of the Liepaja SEZ Board.
The largest cargo turnover in the Port of Liepaja in 2020 was provided by the company "Liepaja Bulk Terminal", handling 2.1 million tons of various agricultural cargoes. According to Mr. Juris Matvejevs, the Board Member of the “Liepaja Bulk Terminal”, the terminal currently handles about 20 different types of agricultural cargoes, and for the last four years, more than 2 million tons of such types of cargoes have been handled each grain season.
Searching for its niche, the Port of Liepaja has been purposefully designed as a grain port since 2001. Agricultural cargo terminals have persistently developed their capacity and flexibility, and are now able to handle more than 30 different types of agricultural products. It is agricultural cargo that forms the largest cargo group in the Port of Liepaja. Such a specification may have also a disadvantage - seasonality, which, depending on the harvest, can last from August to the new harvesting season, however, the cargo handling terminals of the Port of Liepaja are determined for further growth also in this year Throughout the previous year, growth was also observed in the liquid cargo segment, which was provided by both, the GI Terminal, handling base oils, and the DG Terminal, which has built and successfully uses a bitumen terminal - the only terminal of its kind in the Baltic Sea region. Complicated product, complicated storage and handling, however, the effort has paid off.
"It was good news for the Port of Liepaja, that last year the ferry operator Stena Line included the Port of Karlskrona (Sweden) in the route of its ferry line Liepaja – Travemünde (Germany). Our partners – the Swedish and the Danish manufacturing companies - are very happy about the fact, as the seaport and the airport appear to be among major factors for them to build their production facilities in Liepaja”, emphasized Mr. Sesks, Chairman of the Board of the Liepaja SEZ.
One of the preconditions for the development of the Port of Liepaja lies in its development persistency. This has been the main task for the Liepaja SEZ Authority and the local government in the course of 30 years - to ensure clear operating preconditions and, in accordance with the needs of entrepreneurs, to create the necessary infrastructure for port operations. In 2020, the Liepaja SEZ Authority implemented the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the history of the Port of Liepaja so far, amounting to 44.6 million euro. Investing in infrastructure is a major challenge, that requires a great deal of responsibility and careful financial flow planning. Moreover, last year the Liepaja SEZ Authority has often had to make extraordinary and courageous decisions due to the pandemic.
To the moment, the port access roads have been arranged to easily reach all port terminals, the railway infrastructure has been improved to increase the cargo movement capacity, a completely new berth has been built, and a 14.5 m deep waterway has been dredged. "All the above-mentioned projects have been implemented in accordance with the business development plans of the port companies, as it is the entrepreneurs, who attract cargo owners and cargoes, whereas we, as the Liepaja SEZ Authority, can participate and provide the necessary infrastructure and conditions to facilitate arrival of new cargoes to the Port of Liepaja." explains the Chairman of the SEZ Board.
The territory of the former metallurgical company “Liepajas Metalurgs”, which was acquired by the Liepaja SEZ Authority in September 2019, is a great benefit in attracting new cargoes. In the said territory, several entrepreneurs of the Port of Liepaja are currently renting cargo storage areas and warehouses. Thus, for example, the company LSEZ SIA “Ekers Stividors LP” leases 6 warehouses, as a result of which, it has managed to conclude agreements with new cargo owners, significantly increasing the volumes of wood pellet handling in the Port of Liepaja.