Recently, about 190 thousand tons of grain products were handled at the port terminals. Most of this amount is wheat, which is currently shipped to South Africa, Nigeria, Mozambique and Algeria by Panamax-type vessels, so it can be considered that the new grain season in the port of Riga has been launched.
“In August, we have loaded the first 7 vessels with about 90 thousand tons of local wheat, peas and rapeseed of the new harvest. However, in general, we plan this season cautiously - the prolonged heat of this summer has affected both the quality and volume of the harvest,” said Edgars Ruza, the Board Chairman of the Agricultural Services Cooperative Company LATRAPS, which has acquired a 50% + 1 share in the dry bulk cargo terminal “Alpha osta”. He added that due to weather conditions, this year's grain season started earlier than planned.
“This year, grain arriving at the port of Riga both by road and rail is being handled at 13 terminals on both banks of the Daugava. The Freeport of Riga Authority’ s investment in dredging the port access and shipping channels made it possible for larger vessels to enter the port, providing the businesses with the opportunity to save on transportation costs, ”emphasized Ansis Zeltins, the Freeport of Riga CEO.
One of the essential preconditions for competitiveness is availability of the infrastructure for transshipment and storage of agricultural products at the port companies as well as the grain storage facilities. In recent years new, modern grain warehouses have been built at the terminals, and investments are being made in new handling equipment and technologies.
Due to changes in cargo structure, this year grain cargo is being handled at the STREK terminal on Krievu Island, where two new closed warehouses of 3000 m2 with a total storage capacity of up to 30 thousand tons have been built and are being filled with grain of local and Lithuanian origin. This year a new closed grain warehouse with storage capacity of up to 20 thousand tons has been built in the terminal “Osta LejasVoleri” on the left bank of the Daugava. In addition to the six existing ones, two more closed grain warehouses will soon be put into operation at the bulk cargo terminal SIA “Port Milgravis”.
“Transshipment capacity of grain products at the port of Riga – i.e. storage and handling capacity of all companies is measured at around 7.2 million tons per year. Most of the grain cargo handled in the port is harvested in Latvia, however, the share of grain of foreign origin is also steadily growing - in 2020 32% of the grain product cargo trans-shipped via the port was brought from Lithuania, Russia and other countries. This means that the grain segment in the port has growth potential in terms of increasing volume,” added the Freeport of Riga CEO.
In recent years, with the change in the overall cargo situation in the port of Riga, grain and grain products have become one of the fastest growing segments in the cargo portfolio of the port of Riga, which is confirmed by the fact that the volume of grain products shipped through the port has increased 2.2 times. During the eight months of 2021, 1.6 million tons of grain products have already been handled at the port, which is a quarter more than in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Grain products are exported from the port of Riga and are transported by sea to various countries of the world. In 2020, the largest volume of grain products reached the ports of Nigeria, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, as well as ports of various European countries.