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Latvia Freight Transport Report 2014 - New Report Available

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2014-01-24 23:56:04 - Fast Market Research recommends "Latvia Freight Transport Report 2014" from Business Monitor International, now available

We retain our reasonably positive outlook towards Latvia's external accounts. While some longer-term challenges do remain in play, Latvia's current account deficit remains one of the smallest in the EU, and we believe that an increasingly dominant services account surplus will help to offset any future weakness from the trade deficit.

We have revised up our forecasts for the current account deficit, which we expect to be 1.5% of GDP in 2013 and 1.2% of GDP in 2014. Latvia's accession to the eurozone in January 2014 is not expected to have a major impact on the current account, although a slight acceleration in exports might be experienced as a result due to reduced transactional costs.

In Q213, the current account posted a

surplus equivalent to 0.8% of GDP, driven primarily by a decline in commodity imports, although we expect the current account to slip back into deficit in the second half of the year. The trade deficit dropped to 0.6% of GDP in the same period, while import growth became slightly negative on the back of weaker intermediate and capital goods imports. We attribute the shift to shrinking production volumes of export-oriented companies and low investment activity, although these trends should reverse in 2014 as external demand shows further sign of improvement.

Full Report Details at
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A discussion regarding the opportunities for the development of freight transport in the transport corridor between the Baltic and Black Sea was held between Latvian Transport Minister Anrijs Matiss and Turkish Transport and Communication Minister Binali Yildirim, reported LETA/ in April 2013, citing the Ministry of Transport. The meeting was organised on April 2 in Riga. The ministers entered into a protocol of intent on cooperation in transport and logistics, including the growth of freight transport between Turkey and the Baltic Sea on the Zubr container freight railroad. Additionally, both ministers agreed to a fact that there exists enormous potential for additional collaboration, especially in the fields of transit and aviation.

This is on top of the positive noises being made about the Rail Baltic link between Estonia and Poland, which will link Tallinn with Latvian capital Riga, Kaunas in Lithuania and the Polish border. In December 2013, the International Rail Journal reported that European Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas had called on the Baltic states to work together to make the rail project a reality.

In a speech to the European Parliament's Baltic Europe Intergroup, Kallas stated: 'There is money available to the countries concerned, and it is available now. But, and this is a big 'but', they have to play their part to prepare mature projects. As Western Europe becomes increasingly interlinked, a more thinly populated Eastern Europe risks being left behind. We must not allow that to happen. That is why Rail Baltic should be built as soon as possible.'

In 2014, growth across all of the freight modes in Latvia is set to be relatively mooted. Only the Port of Ventspils will record what one would consider to be healthy year-on-year (y-o-y) growth, whereas the air, rail and road sectors are all set for an uninspiring 12 months in tonnage growth terms.

Headline Industry Data

* 2014 port of Riga tonnage throughput is forecast to grow 1.52%.
* 2014 Port of Ventspils tonnage throughput is forecast to rise 5.50%.
* 2014 air freight tonnage throughput is forecast to increase 2.16%.
* 2014 rail freight tonnage throughput is forecast to rise 1.44%.
* 2014 road freight tonnage throughput is forecast to grow 2.28%.
* 2014 total trade real growth is forecast to rise 2.50%.

Key Industry Trends

Mitsui To Purchase Facilities Operator At Riga Port - Japanese company Mitsui & Co is set to acquire the facilities operator at Latvia's port of Riga, according to Nikkei Report in April 2013. This indicates that for the first time that a Japanese company will be directly investing in Latvia. Nearly 80% of shares in Riga Universal Terminal will be bought by the Japanese trading house's port operating unit, Singapore-based Portek International, for nearly US$27.48mn.

Riga Airport Sees Afghan Cargo Rise - Latvia's Transport Ministry has revealed that more cargo shipments destined for Afghanistan are currently passing through Riga International Airport, reports LETA/ Presently, nearly 20 cargo shipment flights to and from Afghanistan go via Riga International Airport on a weekly basis. The cargo shipments amounted to 67% of the airport's total cargo shipment turnover in January-June. Meanwhile, the Latvian side has said that a gradual rise in air transportation volume to Afghanistan is expected to take place in the near future. Additionally, the 100,000th container passed through the Northern Distribution Network via Riga in June, reported LETA, citing the US Embassy in Riga. Further, 13,620 tonnes of freight was shipped by the US Defense Logistics Agency to Afghanistan through Latvia from April 2012 to April 2013.

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