The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India has organized the interactive meeting with Latvian Delegation on 25th January 2018 at the EU Chambers Premises. 

The Meeting was attended by Council’s members and President, Mr Ameet Nivsarkar chaired the meeting.

He welcomed Mr. Kaspars Ozoliņš, State Secretary, Transport Ministry, Latvia, Ms. Evija Rimšāne, Second Secretary, Embassy of Latvia in India, Mr. Edgars Suna, Head of the Marketing and Investment Department, Free Port of Riga Authority, Mr. Igors Udodovs, Deputy CEO, Free Port of Ventspils Authority, Mrs. Silvija Dreimane, Communication and International Relations Department, Head of International Relations and Protocol Division, Latvian Railway and all present at the meeting.

He began by saying it was indeed a pleasure for us to successfully host Latvia-India Transport an­d Logistic Conference led by H.E. Mr. Māris Kučinskis, Prime Minister, Latvia in November 2017. And today as a follow up of that meeting we have the Latvian delegation with us which itself speak about the interest we have developed to take the bilateral relations forward.

Mr Nivsarkar said EU Chambers is one of the foremost trade promotion organizations in India established to promote, foster and extend commercial and economic relations between India and the EU.

He briefly talked about the Latvia & India Relations. He said relations between India and Latvia are warm and friendly, based on shared commitment to democracy. Popular interest in Indian culture among the Latvian people has strengthened ties. India recognized Latvia as a sovereign and independent state and established diplomatic relations on February 25, 1992. Since establishment of diplomatic relations, there have been a number of visits from Latvia to India and vice-versa.

Bilateral trade stood at about US $ 141 million 2015-16. Major Indian exports are tea, coffee, tools, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, garments, iron & steel etc. Major Indian imports include chemicals, fertilizers, iron & steel, machinery etc. There is scope for growth of textiles, agro-products, gems and jewellery, chemical dyes and pharmaceuticals.

He also urged Indian companies to take the advantage of Latvia as a distribution hub for their businesses and avail of efficient and affordable connectivity to transfer goods within EU, Russia, CIS and other Baltic countries.

Dr Renu Shome, Director also joined President in welcoming the delegates. She said as a Chamber we had an honour and a privilege to take Business to your beautiful Country and with the help of Latvian Embassy we had very successful visit. Many delegates were able to make useful contacts during their visit and we hope these contacts will culminate into fruitful results.

She made the presentation on the multifarious activities of The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India which successfully completed its 25 years of presence in India last year.

She said Chamber’s primary promoters consist of European Bi National Chambers and European Bi National Business committees and its Chief Patron is the Ambassador and the Head of Delegation of the European Union to India.

The membership of the Chamber includes representation from several industry sectors – such as banking & financial, infrastructure, automobiles, Pharmaceuticals, electrical and engineering, shipping and logistics, consultancy, IT,  Energy, Agricultural products etc.

EU Chambers has played a pivotal role in assisting its Member Companies to promote trade relations between India and EU. It has successfully provided its members a platform to carry out Business Activities.

Given the size and composition of the trade between EU and India, the Chamber gives utmost importance to resolve almost every possible issue that it believes is an impediment in the path of generating greater momentum to our trade.

Successfully entrenched strong footing of our trade relations is testimony to the support extended to and faith reposed on us by EU Mission. Apart from its regular activities, the Council has conducted several activities this year with the aim to enhance the ties between EU and India

We at Chamber assure you we will do our best to promote the relations between these two region. 

(Excerpts from the speech of Mr. Kaspars Ozolins, State Secretary of the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Latvia) 

Thank you very much for this great presentation about your institution and yes indeed this is a follow up visit our Prime Minister visited actually your Prime Minister and this was very good visit last November and our representatives had a very good discussion with Indian representatives. We understood there is an interest of cooperation and there is potential and that is why we are coming back here and of course we are happy to be here today and thank you very much and indeed it is our privilege to share the information about Latvia about the possibilities and not just about the Latvia but about the Europe.

Today we have with us the representatives of Latvian railway, twolargest ports, Port of Ventspils and Free Port of Riga and we prepared presentations and let’s further and let’s start with our presentations and let’s have the discussions and we will have some questions and answers further.

A Latvian transport system consists of three ports: Riga, Ventspils, Liepaja. They are modern, ice free and multipurpose ports. It has Railways of 1520mm developed by specialized container trains to Central Asia. Road transport is developed with good road infrastructure with high professionalism. With regard to Latvian aviation, Latvia has Riga airport which is regional leader in aviation in Baltics and has one of the most developed air connections.

Cargo Turnover at the Baltic Ports in 2016 was:

  • Lativa 63.1t
  • Lithuania 49.4 t
  • Estonia 26.4t

Latvia developmental priorities are in competitiveness in traditional cargo segments, containerization and investments in ports – industrialization.

In Latvia we had specialized container train which is called Riga Express which connects Riga, Tallinn and Moscow.

We have 48 hours distribution of goods to stores and retail chains in Northern Europe 26.4 million consumers. Export volume from India to Northern Europe (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark) is 400 mln EUR. Main export products from India are machinery and equipment, chemicals, wood and paper products, textiles, foodstuffs. Our Services sector includes Transshipment, Consolidation, and Repackaging of goods, Customs clearance, Storage of customs goods and EU goods, monitoring the status of cargo.

Logistics center in the Riga Freeport is up to 445 HA and is available for logistics, distribution, warehousing and value added services. The lease contracts is up to 45 years. In Ventspils Freeport possibility to develop multipurpose port terminal territory is available up to 100HA.

Riga is a regional leader in aviation. Aviation is a strategic industry for Latvia with Pax growth (2004-2017): 1M → 6M and Geographic advantage / Hub-and-spoke strategy / Gateway to Single European Sky with greawt infrastructure development.

airBaltic is Latvian national airline with 7th largest Regional airline in Europe (according to «Airline Business»). It is world`s most punctual airline in 2014, 2015 and 2017 (according to OAG aviation data monitors). It fly around 60 destinations and has new fleet – Bombardier CS 300. Passengers market share in the Baltics is Kaunas 7%, Vilnius 31%, Tallinn 19% and Riga 43%.

The cargo operations at Riga Airport has 7 cargo airlines, 4 warehouse operators and 20+ thousand tonnes annually. It has cooperation with the “Latvian Post” in the field of e-commerce, the first test flights from China. It has freight transportation to Istanbul, Liege, Cologne, Leipzig, Warsaw, Vilnius, Kaunas and Stockholm. The project of a cargo logistics center with an area of 10 000 m2. Cargo Market share in the Baltics is Kaunas 6%, Vilnius 23%, Tallinn 24% and Riga 47%

(Excerpts from the speech of Mr. Edgars Suna, Head of the Marketing and Investment Department, Free Port of Riga Authority) 

Some of the key features of Free Port of Riga are it is Latvia’s biggest port and a transit hub in the Baltic region. It has a capacity of 65 mln.t/year and cargo turnover 40 mln.t per year. It has 3,521 ship calls per year. It has port community of 200 companies and has 15,000 jobs in the city. The Free Port of Riga occupies 6,348 ha which is 11% of the total city.

Some of the challenges and opportunities which Free Port of Riga faces are changing cargo flow patterns and growing share of Russia’s ports results in free capacities in Latvia’s ports. It creates new business opportunities in container shipping, forwarding and logistics. The Free Port of Riga is the international North South Corridor hub port in the Baltic region.

The Port of Riga Container Terminal’s total container handling capacity is 700,000 TEU/year. It has direct connections to the main rail infrastructure to CIS countries. It has max vessel draft at a container berth 11.7 m. It has the largest warehouse in the Baltic for storage, processing and distribution of general cargo.

The emerging new business opportunities for India it has 450ha of green-field for the development of regional container logistics center (in special economic zone area, tax reductions). The Free Port of Riga has been growing cargo at a rate of 5.9% per annum resulting in a triple amount over that past decade. 

(Excerpts from the speech of Mr. Igor Udodovs, Deputy CEO, Free Port of Ventspils Authority) 

Ventspils port is located on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. Ventspils is one of the largest port cities of Latvia. It is one of the environmentally greenest countries in Europe.

The Port of Ventspils serves as a Gateway to Europe. There are more than 170 international freight forwarders in Latvia. The total delivery time (via Rotterdam): Mumbai – Scandinavia/Germany/Russia is 32-35 days.

The Port of Ventspils also serves as a Gateway to Europe for especially Indian companies. Total delivery time: Mumbai– Scandinavia/Germany/Russia is 23-25 days

The “ZUBR” a container train runs along the route Tallinn/Yulemiste/Muuga/Valga (Estonia)–Ventspils/Riga (Latvia)–Bigosovo (Belarus)–Berezhest -Illyichevsk/Illyichevsk Paromnaya/Odessa-Port/Mogilev-Podolsky (Ukraine)–Oknitsa (Moldova) and links the ports of the Baltic and Black Seas. This train carries 20”, 40” and 45” containers including special purpose containers (tankers, reefers, etc.) There is a guaranteed platform provision at port in Riga, Ventspils, Liepaja (Latvia), Tallinn (Estonia), Ilyichevsk, Odessa (Ukraine) as well as railway stations along the route.

The Port of Ventspils is a multipurpose port with main commodities such as liquid bulk – oil products, liquid chemicals – dry bulk – potash, coal, grain, peat, woodchips – general cargo – containers, Ro-Ro. The Port of Ventspils is a port with an area of 2451.39ha (~ 6056 acres) and one of the deepest ice-free port in the Baltic Sea. It is the ferry transport hub of Latvia Freeport = customs free area.

Some of the Universal terminals in Ventspils are Noord Natie Ventspils Terminals which started its operations in the year 2001. It has an area ~38ha and has existing rail and road connections. It also has experience and equipments for handling containers and any other general cargo. The other is LGT stevedoring Company which started its operations in the year 2016 and has an rea ~15.3ha, incl. ~2.2 at quay. It has existing rail and road connections.

The general data of The Port of Ventspils and its ice map indicates 0 days winter freeze ime. Ventspils is not freezing during winter time. No ice-breaker has ever been used. There has never been a limitation of ships due to ice conditions.

Ventspils special economic zone offers sites for logistics and industrial development. Duration of the lease agreement is 45 years with a possibility at the end of the period to prolong it to another 45 years on the same rules and conditions.

There are premises for lease in the Ventspils High Technology Park. The total area covers 11 820 m2 (~29, 5 acres). The land is owned by the municipality and is available for rent (~0,012 eur/m2 in a year) or purchase (4,5 eur/m2). Its planned building: Size ~4100m2 (~ 44132 sq.ft). The Purpose of use is only for industrial. Maximum no. of floors is one floor and its maximum height is (m): 7m. The Rental fee is € 4.00 / m2 per month + utilities. Electrical connection is 300 kW, there are possibilities to increase it to 4 MW. It is available with a Special Economic Zone status.

Location in the Ventspils High Technology Park (VHTP) Kaiju str. 7. The land is basically use for industrial development. The total land area is 140679 m2 (34,6 acres). The land is owned by the Ventspils Freeport authority and is available for rent (~0,012 eur/m2 in a year) or purchase (~5 – 6 eur/m2). It has Infrastructure capacity such as electricity, gas, water, sewage, and telecommunications. It has connections to communal infrastructure such as water, sewerage, municipal heating, electricity, telecom and internet. It has available electric power supply line (10 kV) with spare power capacity 6 Megawatts (MW) right on the border of the proposed site. Some of the advantages of the location are: It has a Special Economic Zone status. Negotiable municipal/port authority investments into public infrastructure, like outside parking and logistics area, communications from the site border till building, outside gardening, fencing etc. It has access to seaport and the distance to port is ~4km.

Micurina Str. is another special economic zone with a size of 20 ha (49,4 ac). It has availability to railroads. It has utilities and connections to comunal infrastructure (water, sewerage, electricity, telecom and internet) available on the border of the site. The rent price for manufacturing 0,012eur/m2 in a year and for logistics is 0,12 eur/m2 in a year. It has a special economic zone status.

Fabrikas Str.6, Ventspils: It is another premises for lease and buy on The Port of Ventspils. The area spread across 86000 m2 territory with hangars and buildings (~14000m2). This area is located next to the terminal with the docks and railway. This premises is Private ownership and is available for lease or buy. The purpose of use is for any kind of manufacturing and as storage. It was constructed in the year 1982. This land is owned by the state and rent price is 0,03 EUR/m2. It has a Special Economic Zone status.

Kurzemes Str.: It is another premises for lease and buy with a size of ~100 ha (~ 247ac). With a ownership of public. It has a direct access to E22 motorway and railways. 110kW line is crossing the land lot. The Rent price is 0,012 EUR/m2/a year (manufacturing) – 0,12 EUR/m2/a year (logistics). It has a Special Economic Zone status.

The future development of Ventspils port is planned in the Northern port project (~100ha). This land is owned by the municipality and is available for rent or purchase. The Port Authority is offering partial or full land lot for long term lease (45 years + prolongation option). The rent price is 0,05 EUR/m2 in a year (logistics) and sale is 4,- EUR/m2 (negotiable with municipality). It has a Special Economic Zone status.

Total tax rate measures the amount of taxes and mandatory contributions payable by businesses after accounting for allowable deductions and exemptions as a share of commercial profits. Taxes withheld (such as personal income tax) or collected and remitted to tax authorities (such as value added taxes, sales taxes or goods and service taxes) are excluded.

Ventspils Freeport is a special economic zone with tax benefits to the port terminals anlogistics/industrial companies. Corporate Income Tax and Real Estate Tax are reduced by 80% until the company compensates up to 35% (55% for small and 45% for medium-size companies) of the investments. It means that during the compensation time the Corporate Income Tax rate is 3% and the Real Estate Tax rate is 0.3%.

Excerpts from the speech of Mrs. Silvija Dreimane, Communication and International Relations Department, Head of International Relations and Protocol Division, Latvian Railway

India and Latvia have been historically linked by the ancient route called Amber Way. Latvian Railways, the state owned railway company plans to translate these connections by expanding its freight territories through India. India’s role in the world is increasing and India needs new markets for its good. Therefore, we are working on possibilities to develop new routes because freight flow from India to Europe leads through Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Georgia and Belarus. We are ready to supplement this logistics chain and ensure further movement of freight to the north of Europe (Scandinavia0 as well as to deliver the frights to ports of Europe swiftly and efficiently.

Latvian Railways offers favourable logistic tariff and fast transportation at the same time also taking care of customs formalities. By delivering freights to the port of Latvia, wide possibilities open up for Indian entrepreneurs to also enter other European markets . Whereas the development of joint logistics solutions in this region could create wider opportunities to increase  the added  value for goods, by sorting, packaging, providing further distribution etc. from the ports of Latvia.