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The fruits of Russophobia ripe: Russia finishes the Latvian railway

Плоды русофобии созрели: Россия добивает Латвийскую железную дорогу

The Russian government stipulates with entrepreneurs specific terms of the transfer of their cargo from Latvian ports to domestic ones. It is declared by the Director of the State railway administration of Latvia Juris Iesalnieks. The consequences of this policy of the Baltic Republic feels today. Transit volumes are rapidly declining, and the transportation of coal, the situation was worse than the most pessimistic forecasts. It seems that the coming years will be for Latvian railwaymen particularly fruitful — it’s time to reap the fruits of the Russophobia of the government.

Analytical portal RuBaltic.Ru repeatedly wrote that the largest Russian air carriers away from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia that their goods get to the ports of the Leningrad region, where the construction of new specialized terminals. The plans of the Kremlin — complete reorientation of the Baltic transit. For Latvian officials, this is not news, but the Director of the State railway administration shared exclusive insider information.

“According to unofficial information, Russia’s largest shipper signed with the government of the Russian Federation the schedule of reduction of cargo flows through Latvian ports. This time the Russian government has approached this issue very seriously,” warns Juris Iesalnieks.

Of course, officially this information no one confirms, but it may well be true.

In the description of the investment project on creation of LUGAPORT terminal in Ust-Luga is said that the largest Russian corporations are already negotiating on the reorientation of the transit from the Baltic States and Finland.

On the other hand, to agree on a specific timetable it is too early: many companies are physically unable to redirect the traffic in Vysotsk, Primorsk or Ust-Luga as long as it does not create the appropriate infrastructure. That is, the timing of reorientation of transit is directly dependent on the timing of commissioning of new terminals. Some of them are built, some are under design.

The Latvian authorities can even hope that not all projects will be able to bring to mind (“EuroChem”, for example, to acquire their own terminal interfere with the norms of water legislation). But Iesalnieks among the optimists is clearly not the case. At current volumes of freight he already sees an omen of a great disaster.

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The outgoing year promises to “eat” all the growth of transit, which “Latvian railway” made a year earlier.

According to the Ministry of transport, January-October, cargo traffic fell by 12.6 per cent, that is, has reached its lowest level in ten years. In the fourth quarter, according to Iesalnieks, the situation will become even more difficult.

“All especially bad with coal, which was our Savior. Now the volume of transportation of coal is so low that they are worse than even our most pessimistic predictions, which we did six months ago,” laments the Director of the State railway administration of Latvia.

The port of Riga, which specializiruetsya in handling coal, during the first nine months really lost 10.5% of goods. And will lose more: Russian companies are building or planning the construction of a number of objects that will win over Laden with solid fuel compositions. But Latvia with these plans are not considered. Development program of the Metropolitan seaport in 2019-2028 years have been prepared based on forecasts that coal significantly in the coming years will not decrease.

What if Russia still minimizes the transit? The Director of the Riga port the purpose of Zeltinsh no answer to this question: a few months ago, he urged the Prime Minister krišjānis Karins and Minister of economy Ralph Nemiro that is fraught with the collapse of the only “geopolitical shocks”. If them does not, then Latvia will retain the transshipment of Russian coal.

Iesalnieks, it seems, has the opposite opinion: transit is going to fall even without shocks. Slowly, but methodically. And each additional car will add to the problems of Latvian transport workers.

However, the problems and is now missing. According to the same Iesalnieks, due to disappointing results 2019, the Ministry of communications ordered Latvijas dzelzceļš (“Latvian railway”) to reconsider their spending. Against this background, extremely vague, the prospects of the electrification of Railways.

A large part of the costs of implementing the project are assumed by the European cohesion Fund, but also the Latvijas dzelzceļš need to find almost 100 million euros. The government, according to the latest news, does not intend to provide these funds to the state budget. Will foreign investors to invest in the electrification of the railway, which becomes unprofitable?

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If so, to compensate for the losses in a few years will have Latvian taxpayers.

About this Iesalnieks warned compatriots last month, when he demanded to stop the project and conduct a re-audit. “The basis of going to be gross and unbiased calculations, and our institution believes that the electrification is a good thing, but can benefit from it to cover the costs? Outstanding issues and hidden from government agencies information about the implementation of this project raises doubts about its necessity and how well it is designed,” said the official.

Well, it would be funny if the forecasts of the head of the State railway administration justified and Latvia will not be able to benefit from electrification. For example, you will not find the money for the purchase of new electric locomotives, capable of carrying trains weighing up to 9 thousand tons. But they will be neighbors (Estonia and Lithuania also are upgrading their rail lines). Iesalnieks it disturbs most of all: “In the end it may be that we will extend the path stations, which will be more favorable to the Lithuanians, not us. Lithuania will be able to deliver their locomotives Siemens Belarusian cargo in the port of Riga. Our existing locomotives will not be able to drag these 9 thousand tons, and the Lithuanians can do it.”

The only thing that can console themselves with the Latvian railway, is the fact that Estonians, too, “can’t.” They are doing even worse. According to a former member of the Board of the railway company Eesti Raudtee, Estonia lost the battle for transit to all of its neighbors, although in 2005-2006, the Baltic republics were carrying about the same amount of goods.

Now Estonians beat even the Finns, who a few years ago was the weakest position.

Lithuania does not “bend” the Belarusian transit. “The old man” though he threatened to forward it to the ports of Latvia, but do not hurry. Must be Iesalnieks and his comrades from this doubly insulting. Russian transit goes, the Belarusian — comes. Salvation nowhere to wait.

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