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.
Riga has a strong position to build on in 2013 in terms of box throughput, enhanced by robust double-digit year-on-year (y-o-y) increase in volumes in each of the last three years.
Over the medium term, we project further container 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, almost reaching its pre-downturn tonnage levels.
Headline Industry Data
2013 port of Riga tonnage throughput forecast to decrease 8%, over the medium term we project a 2% decrease.
2013 port of Riga container throughput forecast to grow 4%, over the medium term we project a 25% increase.
2013 total trade growth forecast at 5.5%.
Key Industry Trends
Latvian Ports Lose Momentum: Throughput at Latvian ports decreased in the first half of 2013 after a 5.8% growth in 2012, with all three main ports losing freight volumes. Riga's throughput declined by 7.4% year on year to 17.4mn tonnes in the January-June 2013, Ventspils was down 5.8% to 16.3mn tonnes, while throughput at the Port of Liepaja dropped by 29.1% to 2.49mn tonnes.
Risks t o 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...