Riga port is one of the key gate­ways to Baltic re­gion

The Economic Times - - Companies - Anir­ban.Chowd­hury @times­group.com

Mum­bai: The Lat­vian govern­ment is in ini­tial dis­cus­sions with In­dia to in­vest in ex­pan­sion of its Riga port in the Baltic Sea, two per­sons in the know said re­cently.

“Top govern­ment of­fi­cials from Latvia met the ship­ping min­istry last week. The dis­cus­sions are pre­lim­i­nary. They have given a pro­posal and have called for ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est. They want In­dia to re­spond,” said one of the per­sons quoted above, adding no fi­nal de­ci­sion has been made yet. He didn’t want to be iden­ti­fied.

In a meet­ing last week, both coun­tries com­mit­ted to en­hance bi­lat­eral trade and ex­plore op­por­tu­ni­ties via the Riga port, one of the key gate­ways to the Baltic re­gion.

Cargo trans-ship­ment ca­pac­ity at the ter­mi­nals of the port ac­counts for 58.2 mil­lion tonnes per an­num. In 2014, it was the big­gest port of the Baltic States by cargo turnover that reached 41.1mil­lion tonnes, ac­cord­ing to the fig­ures on

the port’s of­fi­cial web­site.

In­dia’s ex­ports to Latvia were worth $98.12 mil­lion in 2014, down 3% year-on-year.

In Fe­bru­ary end, the In­dian am­bas­sador to Swe­den and Latvia, vis­ited the Riga port to ex­plore the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop a cargo dis­tri­bu­tion and con­sol­i­da­tion cen­tre on the Kundzin­sala is­land, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent of­fi­cial state­ment from the port.

In­dia had last year set up an en­tity called In­dian Ports Global to make in­vest­ments in port projects over­seas.

It is in talks with Bangladesh to set up the green field Payra port in the Pat­u­akhali district in the country. The ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­istries of both sides have al­ready held a pre­lim­i­nary round of talks for the port de­vel­op­ment.

One of the per­sons cited above said a pro­posal pre­pared by Bri­tish con­sul­tant HR Wallingford is now be­ing stud­ied by the ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­istry and will then come to the min­istry of ship­ping for its pe­rusal.

Also, In­dia, Afghanistan and Iran have fi­nalised an agree­ment to op­er­a­tionalise a strate­gic port in Chaba­har, Iran.

The port will give In­dia much-needed ac­cess to Afghanistan in the ab­sence of tran­sit rights through Pak­istan.

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