2013-02-20 05:25:56 - New Transportation research report from Business Monitor International is now available from Fast Market Research
In promising news for Latvia's freight industry, data released by the EU's statistical office Eurostat showed that Latvia's exports increased by 14% in the first eight months of 2012, compared with the corresponding period in 2011. This was the largest rise in the European Union. Additionally, the country's foreign trade deficit stood at EUR1.5bn in the reported period, compared with EUR1.2bn in January-July 2011.
In terms of opportunities going forward, eventual membership of the eurozone will reduce transaction costs and eliminate foreign exchange risk for inter-bloc trade and investment. This will provide scope for Latvia to expand and diversify its export markets, as well as attracting more foreign investment over the longer term.
BMI retains its positive outlook towards Latvia's fiscal deficit,
and forecast it to narrow to 1.9% of GDP in 2013 and 1.8% in 2014. On its current trajectory, the country's fiscal situation should not present any obstacles to eurozone accession, and borrowing costs remain extremely low by historical standards. However, we caution that Latvia's relentless focus on government austerity may be at the expense of long-run economic growth and social stability.
Full Report Details at
- www.fastmr.com/prod/536508_latvia_freight_transport_report_2013. ..
The rail and road freight modes are both set for healthy growth over the next 12 months with increased spending in these spheres expected over the medium term. Latvia's largest port at Riga is set to be beaten on performance (taking the form of year-on-year tonnage growth) by the Port of Ventspils, while the worst-performing freight mode is set to be the underperforming air freight sector.
Headline Industry Data
* 2013 port of Riga tonnage throughput is forecast to grow 2.90%.
* 2013 Port of Ventspils tonnage throughput is forecast to rise 6.00%.
* 2013 air freight tonnage throughput is forecast to increase 1.10%.
* 2013 rail freight tonnage throughput is forecast to rise 6.70%.
* 2013 road freight tonnage throughput is forecast to grow 5.66%.
* 2013 total trade real growth is forecast to rise 3.25%.
Key Industry Trends
Upside Risk To Riga's Already Positive Outlook
Latvia's Port of Riga made a solid start to 2012, recording an annual increase in both total tonnage and container volumes in January. We hold the view that 2012 will have been another year of growth for the port and that while the growth trajectory is forecast to slow due to macroeconomic considerations, there is upside risk to our current forecasts from the drive by Latvia's maritime sector to expand its client base.
Massive Hike In Riga Cargo Throughput
Throughput data from July 2012 centering on Riga International Airport has caused BMI to substantially upgrade our growth forecast for Latvian air freight handling. We believe that low taxes are behind the rise in H1 cargo handling at the facility, though we note that throughput at Riga International has been erratic in previous years and we have been slightly cautious in our upwards revision.
Baltic Interest Continues To Increase
British rail freight operator Freightliner has expressed an interest in expanding into Latvia's rail freight sector in the future, according to the Dienas Bizness newspaper. Rail freight operators' interest in the Baltic States and Latvia is understandable and forms part of BMI's larger bullish outlook for freight and shipping in the Baltic Sea region.
Risks To Outlook
In terms of upside risk, Latvia's Transport Minister Aivis Ronis has urged Uzbekistan's authorities to make greater use of Latvia's ports and logistics infrastructure services, according to the transport ministry. This would include making investments into these areas, as well as enhancing freight flows to NATO forces in Afghanistan. Ronis also emphasised that Latvia's existing cooperation with Uzbekistan is productive and pragmatic.
The minister was on an official visit to Tashkent from February 20 to February 23 2012, where he also conducted meetings with Uzbek parliamentary representatives including: Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov; Foreign Economic Affairs, Investments and Trade Minister Elyor Ganiyev; and Uzbekistan Railways head Achilbay Ramatov. Several issues were discussed during the meetings, including further development of political and economic ties between the two countries.
Aside from this, Latvia's transport minister Aivis Ronis acquainted a Turkish business delegation with the Zubr container railroad in May 2012 with the aim of increasing freight flows between Turkey and Northern Europe via Ukraine and Latvia, reports the Baltic Course. Latvia is actively collaborating with Ukraine to attract Turkish freight to the railroad, according to LETA. Turkish investors are already active at Riga Airport, where further investments are planned. Latvia is seeking a strategic investor for its aviation sector, Ronis said.
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