At the beginning of the month, a 255 m long and 43 m wide ship “Orient Cavalier” was serviced in the port of Riga at the berth of the SIA “Riga Coal Terminal” on Krievu Island, where for four days 100 thousand tons of coking coal have been loaded to be transported to China. The “Orient Cavalier” belongs to the so-called Capesize class - a vessel of this size was serviced for the first time at the new port terminals on Krievu Island.
Historically Capesize vessels have not been extensively serviced in the Baltic Sea due to their size, mainly due to their draught, preventing them from passing via the Danish Straits. In recent years, due to changes in the cargo shipping market and the freight rate, servicing of Capesize vessels, including those which are only partially loaded, provides a competitive advantage for the port by attracting various groups of dry bulk cargo.
The Riga port new terminals on Krievu Island boast appropriate infrastructure to accommodate vessels of this size, and the Freeport of Riga Authority will improve the parameters of the main shipping channel and turning basin to safely and qualitatively receive and service Capesize vessels in the Port of Riga.
“Larger vessels are being used for sea freight worldwide. When transporting a larger amount of cargo, the cost per unit of transported cargo is reduced, and transportation becomes much more attractive for the client. This is particularly important in the dry bulk segment, such as coal and metal ore, where the use of larger vessels makes it possible to provide a much more advantageous ship freight rate per one shipped ton. Besides, it becomes especially advantageous when shipping cargo over longer distances, which provides the possibility to consider more distant regions,” said Ansis Zeltins, the Freeport of Riga CEO.
“The arrival of the “Orient Cavalier” at the port of Riga and the vessel’s servicing at our terminal is important not only due to its impressive size, but mainly due to the new destination and the new type of cargo - coking coal, which is used in metallurgy. We could even say that this call practically marks a new era in servicing this cargo segment,” emphasized Mikelis Lapse, the member of the SIA “Riga Coal Terminal” Board.
“It is important for us to show our clients that here in Riga we can simultaneously handle such a large amount of cargo, as well as quickly and operatively service vessels of this size. I think that this will make coal cargo carriers pay more attention to Riga, and hope that in the future a certain part of the coal cargo in a new quality might return to the port of Riga,” continued Mr. Lapse.
At present, Capesize vessels are practically not serviced in the ports on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, so the possibility to do it in Riga provides significant market advantages not only in comparison with the ports of the Baltic States, but also with those in Russia. According to the information processed by the Freeport of Riga Authority and the port merchants, currently more than 30 million tons of coal from the ports on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea are shipped by Panamax vessels to markets outside Europe – in Asia, South America and the Middle East. Ports in these regions are able to accommodate Capesize vessels, so it would be more advantageous for cargo carriers to use larger Capesize vessels instead of Panamax ones. By demonstrating that it is possible to service Capesize vessels in Riga, the port could qualify for a share of this cargo volume.
“The ability of the port to accommodate Capesize-class vessels shall facilitate access to new cargo and distant markets. Thus there are additional opportunities for our stevedores, as well as cargo carriers working through the port of Riga, to provide a full range of services, servicing ships of various sizes. Furthermore, we gain advantages by attracting new cargo segments to the port and promoting the growth of cargo turnover in the port of Riga,” pointed out the Freeport of Riga CEO.
Capesize-class ships are mainly dry bulk carriers with a deadweight capacity of over 120,000 tons. The name of the ship class comes from the word “cape”. Capesize – it was the name used for large ships that, due to their parameters, could not pass through the Suez or Panama Canal, so they had to traverse the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn to sail between oceans.