The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India has organized the Latvia- Transport & Logistics Conference on 4th November 2017 at the Rooftop, Trident Hotel, Nariman Point, Mumbai.


The Conference was attended by Council’s members, non-members, Governing Board Members, Past Presidents, EU Diplomats, industrialists and bureaucrats.

Capt Avinash Batra, Past President of The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India welcomed all present at the Conference. He especially thanked the esteemed panelists Mr. Verners Lūsis, Chairman of the Board, LDZ Loģistika, Mr. Ansis Zeltiņš, CEO – Freeport of Riga, Mr. Shankar Shinde, Vice Chairman, Federation of Freight Forwarder’s Association in India & Mr. Neeraj Bansal (IRS), Deputy Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and Mr. Sharat Chandrayan, Chief General Manager, Western Region, CONCOR Prime Minister.

He also expressed his sincere thanks to the Chief Guest Mr. Māris Kučinskis, Hon’ble Prime Minister, Latvia and other Senior dignitaries from the Ministry Mr. Andrejs Pildegovičs, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Latvia, Mr. Kaspars Ozoliņš, State Secretary, Transport Ministry, Latvia and H.E Mr. Aivars Groza, Ambassador of Latvia to India.

Capt Avinash Batra briefly highlighted the multifarious activities of The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India and said The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India popularly known as EU Chambers which just completed its 25 years of presence in India. 

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.

The 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.

It has been an honour and a privilege for me to serve as the President of the Chamber for the year 2013-2015 and to lead the Council in playing a key role in enhancing the Bi-lateral relations between India and EU.

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 such as:

  • Interactive Meeting with Ambassadors from various EU Countries
  • Hosted many business delegation from EU Countries
  • Panel Discussion on many important topics of interest between EU & India
  • Its flagship event Europe Day.
  • I also had a privilege to lead a Business Delegation to Latvia this year where we participated in Latvia India Conference. I am thankful to Ambassador and his office for the great support extended in organizing various very important meetings for our delegation members.

He also talked about the relations between Latvia & India. 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.


Latvia, A gateway to Europe for Indian Businesses: Logistics and Transport

Indian govt. thrust on infrastructure projects such as Golden quadrilateral network of roads & highways, Dedicated Freight Corridors- creation of inland cargo hubs, cargo distribution centres, cold storage and warehousing facilities, enhancing maritime infrastructure and create jobs and Green logistics-waterways & Rail.

There are excellent opportunities for Indian manufacturers and exporters to make Latvia a distribution hub for their businesses and avail of efficient and affordable connectivity to transfer goods within EU, Russia, CIS and other Baltic countries. I believe today’s enlightened gathering here is acknowledgment of the strategic importance of the topic. I am sure that the galaxy of eminent speakers will enlighten us with their perspective and vision.

(Excerpts from the Speech of Mr. Māris Kučinskis, Honorable Prime Minister of Latvia)

 Excellency, Representatives of business communities, Ladies and gentlemen Good morning Mumbai, Namaskar, it’s a great honour to be at the opening of the Latvia India transport logistic conference and I couldn’t imagine a better place for such a conference when Mumbai it is not only a financial and economic capital of India it is also a prominent port which promotes trade with Europe.

I want to say that Latvia is in a way is a mirror image of Mumbai in Europe and one can even say that sea has been a main gateway, main bridge in fact has been a main gateway, main bridge in fact has been connecting ancestors and has been bringing them together in different cooperation projects and today the Latvian and Mumbai geographic location and multi model infrastructure is also in a way and natural bridge which brings together these two regions of the world.

Highly developed transport and logistics sector will unlocked the trade flows between Artic countries which are separated by great geographical distances every year it is becoming more and more important in terms of trade with our country and also reflected in export and import figures.

By joining the international north south transport corridor, Latvia is ready to offer its partners in India access to the Baltic Sea and opportunity to ship their cargo throughout.

In the afternoon we will be discussing particularly transport cooperation projects together with delegation. We will visit Nhava Sheva the biggest container port in India.

We want to ensure that Latvia and Riga Freeport and services provided by the companies in the Riga Freeport are marked on the map of the Indian logistics and commodity supply chain will mapped and we would like to attract more cargos from India. India is a strategic trade partner for the European Union and I am very happy to offer Latvia as a the best place to do business and the best place for the India companies and the best place to do business and the best place for the Indian companies and the best place in the European Union and these are not just words. There are facts to prove that what I am saying that in 2014 we joined the Eurozone and last year we became the member of the OECD and when it comes to doing business ranking which is created by the World Bank we have ranked 19th among the countries of the world.

Let me reiterate we are among top 20 countries in the doing business ranking and we are currently one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union and according to forecast we will continue to be high in 2018 and will be similar to be what we have experienced this year will be more than 4 percent of the GDP.

Extensive high level exchange is what have taken place in the recent years are notable and are indicative of people desire to  kept in each other bit more close and in the history of our

bilateral relations. This is a historical delegation and first visit of Prime Minister to India and this visit again underlines and underscores the friendly and mutually beneficial relationship that our country have built and the importance of both countries are attaching to deepening and widening such relationship. And yesterday when I met with the Indian Prime Minister, I assured him that Latvia is ready and willing to deepened the economic cooperation with India and while meeting with other top level officials we talked about Latvia’s desire to become a trusted reliable business partner for the Indian investors as well as business community.

And today during this conference we are giving you an unique opportunity to meet the main players and the leaders of the Latvian logistics industry we now have the state secretary of the ministry of transport and communication here today at your disposal and to provide for you information we also have the leading companies in the industry the state Latvian railway and the Riga Freeport Authority.

So I have the hope that you have used the conference to the best of your abilities and will actively networking and discussing joint projects and also come up with joint vision for the development of the region infrastructure connections.

Thank you for your attention. I wish you a constructive and productive conference.

(Excerpts from the Speech of Mr. Andrejs Pildegovičs, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Latvia)    

Honorable Prime Minister, Honorable Ambassador, Capt. Batra Ladies & Gentlemen, Friends! It is indeed a distinct honour for me to address all of you on this beautiful Saturday morning. I wanted to start by thanking Capt. Batra and the leadership of EU India Chambers of Commerce here in Mumbai for this gracious hospitality and indeed I think this beautiful sunny day reflects the stars are aligned correctly for the next leap in advancing the Latvian India relations. As we say in the Foreign Service all coincidences have to be prepared carefully and I know this event is the creation of long lasting efforts of many many people in this room. Indeed, Prime Minister has said that over the last 25 years we have gone a very very long road. Latvia is probably one of the incredible champions which has telescope development from a captive nation to the full-fledged member of European Union sitting at the highest table and we are deeply interested in advancing strategic partnership between our countries between EU and India.

I am very honoured to be back in India. This is my third trip in 2 and a half years and I see every trip I have new and new contacts. Just few important pieces of information our legal

framework has been expanding over many many years. We have double taxation agreement in place, we have investment protection agreement in place. Aviation agreement has been signed during this visit. Our intention is to make very efforts to facilitate EU India economic and investment agreement signing as soon as possible. The recent summit a month ago in Delhi, we believe was important step forward and but the mission is not yet accomplished yet we are looking forward for full implementation.

I am very pleased that Latvia and India are very like-minded countries on many many issues of international arena and concerns. We are very much concerned and partnered with WTO issue and we are closely on regional issues be Central Asia, Afghanistan and Prime Minister just indicated we geographically are east most countries of European Union. The fly time from India to Riga is the shortest. We partnered in modern technology ICT its space industry, in nuclear technologies and we believe that traditional means of transportation and the modern manifestations of ICT, transport, logistics will be discussed during this trip. We believe that many things unite our nations.  One of them of course is cultural background linguistics of course you might know we are in the European people but if you would go deeper, Latvian and Lithuanians are linguistically are the closest brothers of Indian people in Europe. As the most important words in our languages sound very similar and as you can I think we are here in the group of people thinking and dreaming about future prosperity. We believe that we are here to see our dreams coming true and the Latvian Foreign Service and the Latvian Government Embassy here certainly will do utmost to fulfill those demand.

Thank you so much for coming over for this reception and for this event and I wish you cross fertilization of ideas implementation of your dreams in the future. Thank you!

(Excerpts from the Speech of Mr. Kaspars Ozoliņš, State Secretary -Transport Ministry, Latvia) 

Honorable Prime Minister, Capt. Batra, Your Excellency, Ambassador, Ladies & Gentlemen. Let me begin with saying that I am truly honoured to be a part of Prime Minister’s delegation. Its truly honour and privilege for me to participate here which gives me huge opportunity to introduce you to the Latvia logistics sector and its role in the Eurasian supply chains. Let me start with a look at our country and the well-developed transport system comprising of all the necessary elements, land, air and water. Our greatest asset is our three largest ports viz. Riga. Ventspils and Liepaja. All being ice free highly modern and multipurpose. Our second advantage is 1520 millimeters or so called Russian standard railway system completely integrated with Russia and CIS countries not only technically but also as regards to well standards and common information systems. This gives us an opportunity to provide connections to ports without spending time border crossing to change wheels, to change documentation and make the custom clearances on the border. Our third strengths is our aviation sector. We are clear regional leader with regard to Riga International Airport and our national carrier Abiotic. Moreover, Latvia is a leading country in the Baltic region in terms of the transship volumes. Our well-developed transport system and our modern logistics distribution centres we are of great interest of Asia, Russia, CIS countries, Western Europe and the Black Sea region. West Latvia transport and logistics industry is very important for our economy. It contributes more than 9% of our GDP and the share of our GDP derive from the serving transit cargo for about 4%. However, as the saying goes the good things happens when you set your priorities straight, thus can also be rephrase what is our high importance to set one’s priorities to succeed.

So Latvia has a clear vision of where we do see where our development mainly have the role to be the most competitive in traditional cargo segment as well as to increase the handling of the containerized cargo gaining more and more importance.  Finally, we firmly believe that the ports require an increased level of industrialization and with this in mind we pay great attention to the creation of new value added services and industrial companies in our ports. Speaking on the container trains, Latvia is the most experienced country in the development and provision of the dedicated container train services in the Baltic Sea region.

Latvian railway regular container trains routes include Baltic transit carrying the cargo from the Baltic ports of all three Baltic States to the destinations in Kazakhstan and other central Asian countries. Zubr train service operates from Estonia and Latvian port means Belarus and Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea. Riga Express connects Riga and Moscow and has proven to be the quickest rail connection to Russia economic Centre. However, all the ways won’t open new doors and therefore, we are exploring new routes and new opportunities. Thus, in close cooperation of Latvian and Chinese railway companies we organized the first test train from EUCT in China to Latvia which arrived in Riga in November last year. In order to ensure the balance of the cargo flow we have formed two reversed trains from Europe via Latvia to Kashgar in China. And more recently we organized the first combine sea rail container train service from Urumqi via Riga to Rotterdam in Netherlands.

Now let’s look what happens when the goods reach Latvia. Being in the centre of the Baltic States and having optimal transport connections to the largest ports and wide range of custom warehouses, logistics Centres we provide distribution of goods throughout the Baltics within 24 hours and in 48 hours we cover whole Scandinavian region with more than 26 million consumers. Moreover, we ensure wide range of services such as consolidation, repackaging, storage etc.

In order to make even more attractive Latvian Government has introduced several advantages taxation and custom procedures making the release of goods in Latvia for the EU market very efficient. Today, is an export volume from India to Northern Europe is around 400 million Euros and the main export products from India include machinery and equipment, chemicals, wood paper products, textile and food products and I believe that there is a room for further development Latvian and Indian entrepreneurs  have already started cooperation. I know as you are already familiar with what we have and what we can offer, lets return to our specific proposal for cargo delivery of Indian goods to Russia and CIS countries as well as Scandinavia. There are two main possibilities for goods from India to reach Latvia. The first one is traditional standard maritime route which is traditional maritime route you can easily reach the biggest market of Russia and CIS countries. We have three ice free ports Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja which are connected to the integrated rail system with Russia and CIS countries as well as very good road infrastructure connection.

North South corridor provides new opportunities for cargo delivery from India to Northern Europe where Latvia plays a role of gateway to Scandinavia and the Baltic States. The main advantage of this logistics solution is the significant time saving. Since the goods transport with the railway will reach the Baltic region at least twice as fast as by sea. My colleague Mr. Lusis will elaborate in more details on the cooperation organizing the first test train and the container trains later on today. Here you can see two alternatives which call them and significant role of Latvia and our great potential in providing logistics services in the northern Europe.

Now I would like to introduce two major investment proposals in our ports. The biggest port in Latvia is Riga Freeport offers around 445 hectares of land for development of logistics services. This land is excellent for the establishment of new warehouses and the development of new industrial projects in order to rise the added value of the Cargo. Another investment proposal is made by the second largest Latvian port Ventspils port, paying great attention to developing its industrial zone and creating new workplaces.

Ventspils Freeport is looking for long term cooperation partners, so called Northern Port projects offers approximately 100 hectares of land next to the sea as an opportunity to build a new harbour. We also offer the development of logistics centre at the Riga International Airport and this gives me an opportunity to step back and inform the audience also naturally about the aviation sector one of the most progressive sector of the transport industry of Latvia.

Riga International Airport is the largest international aviation company in the Baltics and continuously increases its importance as a cost effective competitive and dynamically growing air traffic hub. In less than a decade, the passenger turnover at the airport has increased 5 times, Riga airport both as the end destination and hub for transiting passengers has 89 destinations operating current summer and serve 17 passengers and 7 cargo airlines. Latvian airline in its Baltic turn operating not only from Riga but also from Vilnius & Tallinn which is in Lithuania and Estonia airports and our national airline in air Baltic region is the 7th largest regional airline in Europe and recently received CAPA Regional Airline of the year award which is awarded to the regional airline that has been the biggest standouts, strategically and has demonstrated innovation in the regional aviation sector.

Today Riga airport together with a company Latvian Pasts plays great efforts to develop its cargo capacity especially giving the raising role of ecommerce and handles freight and from Istanbul, Cologne, Leipzig, Warsaw, Vilnius, Kaunas and Stockholm and other cities. The work continues as regards as new test flights to strengthen its role in logistics sector, Riga airport offers potential investors of the projects of the cargo logistics centre within an area of 10,000 sq.mts.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen for your attention. There is a saying that if people like you they will listen to you but if they trust you they will do business with you and following my previous speaker, that we all want to fulfill our dreams, indeed I agree with him to fulfill our dreams but we have to work hard for that. Thank you very much!

(Excerpts from the Speech of Mr. Verners Lūsis, Chairman of the Board, “LDZ Loģistika”, Latvia) 

Dear colleagues, I am truly happy to be here in India and on behalf of Latvian Railway I would like to thank you for an opportunity to speak here and present here our company. I believe in an increasingly globalized world Latvia and India could have common interest and in the field of transport and logistics. Since Latvia has unique geographical position our country could be a gateway between North and South. Latvia is working and attracting cargo flows and creating a new transport corridor. International corridors North & South is on the priority list of Latvian Logistic Industry.

In terms of fright transport volumes Latvia holds a leading position amongst the Baltic States where Latvian Railways is one of the largest rail forwarders in the European Union. At the same time Latvia being a country with trade gauge of 1520 is planning an implementation of a construction project of railway line with a trade gauge of 1435. Rail Baltica is a railway project aim to integrate Baltic States in European Union network where it is currently covering 4 member states of the European Union Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Baltic States plans to construct a new 870 Kms long railway line with the European trade gauge of 1435 at a maximum speed of 240 Kms which will promote and increase the population and cargos in north south directions, sustainable and diversified development of an economy and increase in competitiveness in order to ensure fast traffic by means of most ecological terms and transport and link metropolitan Riga commerce.

It is planned to construct an intermodal logistics tripod Centre for purchasing railway cargo. This park show became a merge point of all that which attract trade gauge 1520 and 1435 and persists cargo flow for transport going by North South. Using advanced technology and combination of services of infrastructure there are two types of railway trade gauge, road network and proximity of airport and port. The terminal have to ensure the conditions for creating sustained offer for rail cargo transport to north south. Here we have to see the intermodal logistics Centre Baltica and its connections particularly to India and also ease of cargo. Latvia has its own advantages for example large amongst free ports and started its significant strategic alliances and for all the times Latvia has been linked to sea and transit cargo. However, Latvian ports have its own significance. Latvia has large ports specifically in Riga.

The ports of Riga and Ventspils show connections in the parts of northern, western parts of Europe and possibility of delivering cargo using Riga and Ventspils as a logistic centers. Latvian railways proposing for road development of infrastructure, expertise in building more and more transport solutions to get freights from India to Europe and Latvia. By developing the new route Latvia railways have already successfully long term standing cooperation with Russia and other. Our companies were interested to promote more cooperation in India and partners in the field transport and logistics which is essential to create trade corridors successfully. This year February a delegation from Latvian Railway participated in exhibition 2017 in New Delhi. We had number of meetings with Secretary of State and industrialists and the representative of Indian railways. I am sure there would be more visits of Latvia to India to discuss possible cooperation with the Latvian railway. Geographic distance between our countries is not an obstacle in development and future cooperation.

Latvia has the largest experience in the development of container trains in the Baltic States. Our advantages are the geographical location which takes the special place, special advantages for developing transport and logistics sector of Latvia. We are in the Centre of the Baltic Sea region and I am sure that he distribution of goods within 24 hours to Baltic States, Helsinki, Stockholm and Warsaw and within 48 hours to 200 places Scandinavian and ensuring access to 6.4 million of clients in northern Europe. In order to achieve our goals and become a more efficient Centre we are developing cooperation with the experienced logistic companies in Germany. Geographical location of Latvia as a part of the Europe allows a bridge between North and South and we take into account the interest of those large companies and small partners. There are more rules and ways of cooperation in the field of logistics and I could tell this each of these in detail. India and Latvia has common values and common principles. There is a strong interest in Latvia society about the Indian culture and it is a time to promote business interest in India as well.

(Excerpts from the Speech of Mr. Ansis Zeltiņš, CEO, Freeport of Riga)    

Good morning ladies and Gentlemen, Excellencies, friends it happened this is my first time visiting India and I am really touched by their warms and friendly reception and really diversity in all positive aspect of your country. Also in the  programme, my presentation was named about the large investment projects in Baltic Sea region and I would speak about one ports and I would touched those aspects which changes and was already mentioned by my previous colleagues speakers what happens to transit and logistics market in Latvia.

First of all, few information about what the Freeport of Riga is also we are the smaller port on the global map, we feel really to be a gateway to the Baltic Sea and northern Europe. It is a biggest port in Latvia so the capacity is, 65 million tons per year and out of those maximum capacity for time being we could handle 7000 TEU containers. Existing cargo turnover for last few years is being 35 to 40 million tons of different cargo and we are sailing over 3500 ships every year and providing over 15000 jobs to all port related industry and accommodating around 200 companies directly involved into the port business.

Port itself means the Freeport area which is connected with modern and developed network of rail infrastructure and which is still currently being modernized and continuously developed. We claim to be a year older than the city itself we have made to the centuries, we had made together with a city and we say that first was the port and then was city established more than 100 years ago. Actually, we call a quite huge territory of city itself so as you see it’s around 11% of total area of the city. Existing situation in a eastern part of the Baltic Sea and that’s where we see our market is also our competitors are placed is the eastern part of the Baltic Sea and look more or less on the 15 ports established here from Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and always market for time being should and cargo turnover is around 400 million, its steadily growing by margin of figures but the market is changing with the Russia policy to shift their cargo to their ports. So currently we are but that’s not the Riga its all Latvian ports together so we are the second largest by cargo turnover in the region of the Russia.

Then you can see whole of the market is spread two years. So basically market is growing slowly but majority of the shifts is towards Russian ports. This is just the statistical slide of the Riga Free port and we have steady growth since early 2000, 65% of our cargo is still energy commodities resources transiting from Russia and CIS countries. As I said the market is changing, the energy resources has shift towards Russian ports and this brings challenges to our port businesses but at the same time it also opens new opportunities and with this over port business players they are looking towards head and we all are working together for national rail, ministry of the transport and all the businesses involved in the port business working on corridors towards east and southeast Asia. We as a part of Riga which being a hub for this major corridors.

That already potential which is being tested southern route and it was mentioned already by my colleague already from Latvian Railway. India, Iran, Russia, Latvia and then towards Scandinavia really see this route to the potential and its not just Scandinavia and northern Europe opening a quite wide market by the way on both directions as well as Eastern parts towards Far East Kazakhstan and China.

Talking particularly about the containers I already mentioned existing support theoretical support of the containers terminal to Riga Freeport is around 700 TEU per year and currently is bit over 400000 TEU per year. We have different direct connections for time being for those across the Baltic Sea and northern and western European countries. We can accommodate container vessels upto the 11.7 metres of draft. Historic Freeport of Riga has been developed on the right bank of river that comes from a history and we have freely open space still available on the left bank and this is one of the very new projects it still being to be related to dry bulk and particularly called it’s a beginning stage of the terminal with a new deep water jetty wall and area of 60 hectares of reclaimed land and it was marsh area before.

Thank you for your attention. Welcome to Riga. Thank you very much!

(Excerpts from the speech of Mr. Shankar Shinde, Vice Chairman- Federation of Freight Forwarder’s Association in India) 

Very Good morning to all the delegates, dignitaries on the dais. On this occasion we welcome his Excellency Prime Minister of Latvia and it is a proud moments of us also to look for the better cooperation and more businessmen towards India and Latvia.

I will touch on the aspects of how international North South transport corridor could add on better way for trade development.

Visiting international north south corridors this has been established in the year 2000, but we only recently see after 2010 when some enlightening on this and development has taking place where Ministry of Commerce in India and Govt. of India is taking initiatives. And in 2014, the MOC along with the Ministry of External Affairs took an initiative to have a real study as to why this trade on this INST is not developing. So FFFA- Federation of Freight Forwarders Association in India took the initiative on behalf of Govt. of India to actually drive down to containers on this route which was selected from Nhava Sheva upto Russia options which we can reach. So brief about the INST we have the three founder members, India, Iran and Russia and later on we have the other members joining this INST which is Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Oman, Syria and Bulgaria as an observer.

We further see an interest of other countries like Turkmenistan to come on the board where they have also shown an interest and again Latvia is also showing the interest. Going ahead with the routes we selected the two routes. First was from Nhava Sheva to Bandar Abbas and from Bandar Abbas we are carrying it to Azerbaijan  and the other Azerbaijan is already rail connected to the Moscow. So here is the first route which we are talking about is Nhava Sheva to Bandar Abbas and Bandar Abbas there is again a rail connectivity upto Kazvin. Kazvin and Astara are the route is taking up but the infrastructure to put into operation rails is yet a time which we are expecting in next 6 months to develop and start the operations. So till then we have the rail operation upto Kazvin and from Kazvin to Astara we have by road by trucking and again from Astara we have upto Moscow by rail connectivity. So here we have by sea railroad and rail. So this is first option which we took up.

The second option which we could connect the Russian part was from India upto Iran upto Nhava Sheva via Bandar Abbas and from Bandar Abbas we have a direct rail connectivity on the northern part of the Iran on the Caspian Sea which is Amirabad. So Amirabad once we connect by rail we have a Caspian Sea access directly to Astrakhan in Russia and from Astrakhan we have a direct rail connectivity upto Moscow and Saint Petersburg. So this makes work very easy and faster so with these two options if we are looking for direct rail connectivity yes we have in Iran, if we have the Caspian Sea freezing during the seasonal then we have the other option that is Azerbaijan so these routes we can utilized for these transportation. Now why this transportation if you see the earlier which was a traditional

route which is why the Swiss Canal and which took to the Saint Petersburg on the Russian part which took around 40-60 days of transit and with INST we can have route connected by 25 to 30 days and with regular volume we can almost come to around 18-22 days also with the regular connectivity. With this routes we also looking for the other routes which is eco rail route and Trancika and Transcial rail network.

If you see the China connectivity into Russia and how we can play an important role to connect India with the Russian and CIS countries. If China from eastern part can connect towards the western part towards the northern silk route why India cannot and it is possible though we have geographical advantage but the political challenges what we face it yet to be addressed and if that is done away we still have better advantages than the China. Presently, we also see major of the cargo flowing via China from India towards these CIS countries and Russia. One of the important things which we have to take into consideration is the break of gauge which various countries has different gauges in 1520, 1435 which needs to be addressed. Though now Iran and Turkmenistan are into agreement of 50%- 50% of changing of wagon wreck wheels so this has again help but there is nothing for the trade to take into look but the logistics players they themselves get into operations. This is just a relevant distances to get a clear idea as to how we can connect the Iranian from Bandar Abbas, Chabahar which is a new development initiative which Indian Government has taken up on. So if you see this INSTC how excessive goodwill we can connect if you see in the blue line which indicates the tradition route and the red line which connects the INSTC route. So these are the ways which we show the access from Bandar Abbas upto the northern of the Iran connectivity and also the CIS connectivity. And on the western part we find that Astara, Baku and from Baku we have again much, Makuchkala and upto Moscow connectivity.

So here there is one more advantage after reaching the Caspian Sea from India, we have the access to other five countries on Turkmenistan one is a Kazakisthan, Baku in Azerbaijan and we have Olya port in Astrakhan in the Russian sector for the connectivity. So this is very much advantageous even the China which is connecting towards the east west if you see it is connecting via Aktau to  Baku on the Caspian Sea and then it further rails out from the Baku.

So here these are the advantages what the corridor aims it. It is shortening the time of goods transport between China and Europe and unlocks cities of the heart of Euroasia. The routes corridor the northern corridor and the southern corridor. Basically what we are looking at this northern and south corridor where the rail transportation is from the port to port, but upto the destination which is near to factories warehouses in any case where today trade compares you find the challenges you go to market you go to forecast this any of the importers and exporters they tend to see that my rate today are over the rate what you are offering. But they are so compel that the CIF upto Moscow CIF upto Saint Petersburg and not taking into consideration the haulage  further from Saint Petersburg to Moscow from the port of the any of the internal Inland  destination which is the major challenge which goes on the importer side.

So here where we are comparing it is not in the isolation within the sea phrase but it goes from the destination to destination which railways be always be on the advantageous part. So here if you see why I was forecasting on the Moscow Russian connectivity from Moscow upto Riga it is only 2 days and with this transit can we consider on the international north south transport corridor instead of Suez channel upto Riga and then upto again getting back in in always better to go upto straight manner from Bandar Abbas upto Riga via Vorsino from the Russia. So this is one of the map which was shared by the Latvian Railways showing the advantages of access via Latvia and then from Latvia how we can access to the northern European parts.

So here we have just tariffs which have been worked out by the consortium with Iranian Railways where Azerbaijan Railways and along with the Russian Railways has worked out the tariffs. The tariff if you see FOR Moscow from Bandar Abbas it goes to 1544 dollars for a 20 feet container and 2329 for the 40 feet containers and so on for the other destinations. Now here where the NVOCC is another operator they mark up the margins over and above of this tariffs which has to be considered while taking a sea route into consideration though we have an advantages on the  transportation but for the trade it is always cost which matters. So while considering transportation one has to compare the cost also.

They why Riga is an important hub to connect on the INSTC India and Latvia has been historical linked by an ancient route called the Amby Valley. Latvian interest in expanding its wing in territories of India to enhance connectivity, advantages of ice free ports which provides operations throughout without interruptions and we have interest of collaborating on INSTC with Russia and Azerbaijan and Iranian Railways forming consortium. It is a faster access to Hamburg, Germany towards northern European and it also supplements the efficient smooth freight services for Indian market to northern Europe and Scandinavia.

Why it is a win win situation, Indian economy is strongly growing and looking for the new market and ease of doing business from both perspective from Indian side our Prime Minister and from Latvian side we have Prime Minister where they are ranking on the top and India again is striving towards making the ease of doing business from 130 ranking it has gone to 100 ranking now, so here we both on same line. Riga strategic advantage on geographic location and good relationship with neighboring  countries connection to act as a distribution hub advantageous the new rail Baltic project, Estonia, Lithuania and partner cooperation to link Baltic countries so this again one of the advantages once you reached the Riga so from Riga we have a good connectivity new opportunity from Indian logistic business presence as a partnership between the Riga, Latvian railways to extend single window services in cooperation and trade facilitation and new thing which has come up is TR convention  which India accession has been done and now in December it will be operative.

So this will add on to a new transit development which will act as faster transit development which will act as a faster transit for the without interruption. So this is a new thing which has coming up and adding up advantages for the transit of cargo. Rather this would not as challenges but the things which we need to look into promotions is trade promotion, participation on this route, aligning infrastructure where the rail gauge connectivity transshipment is required. The competitive and consistency services we offered by the trade, expertise of logistic partners on this route. We should look for the liability, security and safety measures which already exists because throughout the Iran we have the GPS operations for the logistics movements, International railway cooperation which we said creating a consortium between this country for single window clearances harmonization of cross border clearances, operations and processes.

Way forward we have the technology which could play a very important role as a common IT platform for tracking of GPS and RFID, seamless movement which is single window for all the other Government agencies to come under single other Government agencies to come under single platform. Connectivity versus speed we are talking about because now China has gone a step ahead with the speed rather than the connectivity. We are still talking about the connectivity so rather than connectivity we should also work simultaneously on the speed, integration of corridors which you are talking about Tracisa, Ecorail and other routes. So this is one of the thing rather than competitive we are looking as supplementing so this is what is INSTC route has to offer and will look forward for the trade participation and there are logistics players who had opportunities on this route who has to market this product for the betterment and for the trade development.

Thank you!

(Excerpts from the Speech of Mr. Sharat Chandrayan, Chief General Manager of Western Region, Mumbai, CONCOR)    

Respected dignitaries, my friends on dais, ladies and gentlemen. I thank on this EU institution to call and given me an opportunity to discuss about my company as well as this topic. The topic my presentation is Hinterland connectivity and in-situ value addition what a company we connect the Hinterland with the ports as well as we are trying to develop those dry ports into a value addition hubs. First of all Europe and India are a colonial cousins and we are separated around 5000years of time, we have a common language route that is called Indo-European route. We have a rich tradition of communicating with each other. At present time we have a common shared value of democracy human rights and another things and both EU as well as India they are some kind of continent and subcontinent and because of geography there is a need for a Hinterland connectivity and my company does the Hinterland connectivity.

My company CONCOR which is called Container Corporation of India. It is a Navratan company under the ministry of railways and it is a Government company. It is a listed company and it has a market capitalization of around 36000 crores where government of India has a holding of 56% and it is richly invested by foreign FIIS. This company has a turnover of around 6000. It is essentially a Pan India multimodal company. We have presence across nearly 25 states. Apart from that we have the multimodal transporters. We have joint ventures with the other Government and private sector including Bangladesh, Nepal. We have a JV and operate the port JNPT port is the leading port in India and the leading terminal operators JTIL and we are the partner and we have JVs with other companies also. We have JV with the road transportation also and it is with the leading company and TCI and we are also in air cargo handling Mumbai Port. Around 70% of the International cargo is handled by us and import all the airlines expect for Air India.

We have presence in coastal cities shipping as well and we have made a foray for cold storage and supply chain. As I said, we carry 76% of share of the Hinterland rail transport. We strive to provide cost effective and reliable transport. We have 72 terminals and we have 15 MMLPs, MMLPs I will be detailing those are the MMLPs are the multimodal logistics Parks where you can do the value addition. This is the new area where we have put in thrust in. we have the green transport, the difference between a carbon emission between a road and rail is thrice. The road emits around 82 grams per ton per kilometer and we emit only 28 grams. So we are a green transport nearly accident free. We have a strong IT network we invest around 10% on the IT network because we know that the containers has to be on a strong IT networks. We are now becoming a 3PL of logistics operator. This is the brief view of Hinterland connectivity we have, we have 72 terminals all across spanned over India. We have around from JNPT we have 3 trains to Ludhiana. It is more than Rajdhanis which ply from Mumbai to Delhi.

This is the new focus we are trying this is the major growth centres we are trying to achieve. These are the four wheels on which our future projects are engine. One is that multimodal logistics park which would be detailing. We have gained through GST because it has led to cargo aggregation. We have gained through DPD also because it has helped in quicker movement of services and containers and DFC the Dedicated Freight Corridor. How the GST has helped us, it has led to a bigger hub warehousing. The parcel size is earlier the different things were distributed at different places the parcel size was low so we have benefitted with that so we have a better lead.

DFD- Dedicated Freight Corridor which has different benefits.

One of the examples I would like to give Bajaj model- Bajaj is a company, well known in India. It has a 20% of market share for the motor bikes. So every vendor was putting their things to Bajaj plant and then it was coming to my ICDs. So to reduce the cost we have reduced one of the legs in the blacks and now things are assembled at my place so one of the logistics place has reduced. That has given the cost benefit as well as opportunity for bigger exports also.

We have a massive plan for MMLPs which is for future and this will aggregate the cargo and there is a cargo aggregation then the volumes are there for double decker trains these are the new MMLPs which are coming and they are the growth centers which will prevail the manufacturing the make in India kind of thing and these locations will be the hub for manufacturing and assembly.

(Excerpts from the Speech of Mr. Neeraj Bansal (IRS), Deputy Chairman- Federation of Freight Forwarder’s Association in India) 

Dignitaries on the dais and friends, I think we heard from the Latvian side and what the government intentions are and what the railways doing and what Riga port is doing. After listening to all presentations I do feel it makes sense. Latvian is looking us it has to be a Riga can be used as gateway port for the Europe and Russia. Looking at all prepositions it makes sense.

Speakers before me have highlighted a lot many commonalities between India and Latvia. I do believe in more than that. They have a dynamic Prime Minister and the same is with us. Both are very visionary and both are thinking out of the way out of the box, how to create more prosperity for the country. Both believe that it is a port led development. Port of Riga is here and we represent JNPT so I do believe that this kind of synergy will create a more value. Third is that both Prime Ministers of countries are thinking in building up the mutual trust and friendship for long lasting relationships. I think when we do trade this kind of confidence and this kind of warmth is required which probably both countries are showing and that’s a very good sign.

Both countries are having robust trade relations, so it paves the way for enhancing it further. Prime Minister raised the issue of Ease of doing business and what ranking on ease of doing business. Recently published report says that India has jumped almost 30 ranks in ease of doing business and we are amongst first hundred countries now. Similarly the growth of GDP if you look at in India we are around 7% and we are targeting 8% plus in the coming years and each economists agrees with India’s growth story. So today at this platform I will not speak about JNPT because JNPT having a detailed discussion separately with the Latvian Delegation. My more concern is because ultimately when we talk about EXIM trade cooperation between two nations in EXIM trade it’s a major stakeholders which plays a more role. It’s a trade export and import has to pick up, logistics players have to play their role very efficiently and shipping line have to create those kinds of shipping routes so cargo can be evacuated and can be delivered at a shortest possible time at the most economic rates. So we will focus on that because I do believe rest of the issues can be handled otherwise.

Till date I think more conventional methods are thought of whether it’s a INSTC. If you look at there is a lot of modal shift is happening cargo moves from this place to Bandar Abbas and from Bandar Abbas and now you take a rail route and then sea route comes up again a rail or road route comes up. We had just taken the end point timing, are not factored in time the ports will take in clearing further.

This modal shift will takes own time; ultimately every delay causes a huge cost escalation. One has to think on a new way something modern where we can create more value out of this. One sea route we are talking about direct relationship or direct shipping service between JNPT, Kandla visa vis Riga. I think that’s the way forward, if we really want to work out a close relation where sea shipment doesn’t create that kind of trans-shipment what’s happening today globally if you look at the shipping line business we are using trans-shipment route to deliver cargo at a desired port. But every trans-shipment has its own cost addition. And finally if we talk about exporters from Latvia and an import in India that’s becomes costly because of this kind of shifting in between. If there is direct relationship between these two ports that creates value out of this. So I do believe that we have to move away from the conventional methodologies. It’s a good platform when the high power delegation from Latvia has come up with all the key Logistic and Indian side is also represented in the same fashion the major infrastructure players are here. So why not to work out these kind of solutions and I do believe that the Government have to play a critical role in extending the hand of help so that the private sector can work accordingly to create better facility at the earliest.

Private sector will always worried about the Government Policies, Government assurances, how will protect you interest in the longer run if you are investing with the Latvian Government or Latvian people investing with the Indian Government. So those kinds of investment protection safeguards really build that kind of confidence. The new technologies which are being used whether you look at block chain technology or if you look at the major economic trailers which are Flip kart, Alibaba they are leading the way they are creating their own logistics chains just to cut short their logistics cost and time. I think that’s the way forward we both countries are supposed to work on those areas. Why can’t we discuss how to generate cargo will be another issue unless cargo picks up this kind of services will not be feasible? How we can generate cargo it’s a chicken and egg story private sector will always expect they should be cargo, if there is a direct cargo between Latvia and India the immediate services can start. So what will happen first starting a service first and generating a cargo first. So I do believe cargo generation is a key. Once cargo builds up for export to Latvia vice-versa the private sector will start playing the role accordingly.

I do believe that this kind of interactions, high powered interactions where honorable Prime Minister of Latvia himself comes here and he interacts with the trade, interacts with the stakeholders in India that goes in its own way in building up the confidence and this kind of further cooperation will strengthen this relationship as JNPT being the premier container port in India. We are committed for providing these best international standard services to the EXIM trade. We have aligned with the Government thought process when the Chabahar initiative has started. Instead of Bandar Abbas being the busiest port in Iran we looked at another option at Chabahar being used a gateway to CS Countries and Afghanistan and Iran. So JNPT is actually involved in this Chabahar port project that gave us another route for the cargo to be moved from India to Latvia, but I do believe we must work on all these possible options. These possible options will through a possible solutions and trade will lap at that which is most economical out of that. And once it makes economic sense trade of both countries only then this kind of feasibility, viability will come up.

Thank you very much!

(Vote of Thanks proposed by Dr. Renu Shome, Director, The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India)

Good morning Ladies and Gentleman! On behalf of the Council of EU Chamber and on my own I thank our Chief Guest: Hon’ble Prime minister of Latvia Mr. Māris Kučinskis to present at the Latvia-India Transport and Logistic Conference.

My sincere thanks to: Mr. Andrejs Pildegovičs, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Latvia, Mr. Kaspars Ozoliņš, State Secretary, Transport Ministry, Latvia, H.E Mr. Aivars Groza, Ambassador of Latvia to India, Mr. Verners Lūsis, Chairman of the Board, “LDZ Loģistika”Mr. Ansis Zeltiņš, CEO – Freeport of Riga, Mr  Shankar Shinde, Vice Chairman- Federation of Freight Forwarder’s Association in India, Mr. Neeraj Bansal (IRS), Deputy Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT)

I am happy to inform you that the EU India Chamber has undertaken many programmes in the past year for its members, with the purpose of getting the industry together and sharing its common view with regards to promoting trade and commerce between India and European Union.

Friends, we assure you that the Council will always strive to promote the trade relations between both the regions and undertake many such activities which shall help our members to know about the latest happenings with regards to EU India Trade.

We, at the Chamber are very happy to organize for you, this Latvia-India Transport and Logistic Conference, Latvia: India’s Gateway to Europe and CIS Countries which is a very topical subject.

I sincerely thank our today’s sponsors to make this event successful as:

  • Seahorse Ship Agencies Pvt. Ltd.
  • Caprihans India Ltd.
  • IDFC Bank Ltd.

Lastly I would be failing in my duties, if I do not acknowledge the hard work of my colleagues who has put up this wonderful event for you.

Ladies and Gentleman, once again I would like to thank all of you for gracing the occasion and hope you will enjoy the morning as much as we have enjoyed putting it up for you.