Cooperation between German and Latvian ports deepened
02 May 2023 13:00 Economy
For the second time, a delegation of leading Latvian transport and logistics companies recently visited Hamburg and Lübeck. German-Latvian Port Days in Lübeck were opened by Eglis Levits, President of Latvia.
Partnerships need to be cultivated regularly in order to develop intensive contacts and relationships. To this end, a delegation of leading Latvian transport and logistics companies, led by Uldis Reimenis, Deputy Undersecretary of the Latvian Ministry of Transport, visited Germany from 26 to 28 April. The visitors took the opportunity to renew the cooperation already agreed for 2019 between the Latvian ports of Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja and the northern German ports of Hamburg and Lübeck. This visit of a high-ranking delegation has already become a tradition and will lead to an even more intensive exchange between existing and potential business partners. Latvian and German companies and ports benefit equally from this," said Marina Basso Michael, Regional Director Europe of HHM - Port of Hamburg Marketing, welcoming the visitors.
One highlight of the delegation’s visit was the German-Latvian Port Forum in Lübeck on 27 April, jointly organized by Port of Hamburg Marketing and the Port of Lübeck, among others. It was opened by Eglis Levits, President of Latvia, and Claus Ruhe Madsen, Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister of Economics.
On April 28, the three-day programme included a meeting at Hamburg City Hall. Uldis Reimanis, Axel Mattern, CEO of HHM - Port of Hamburg Marketing, and Jānis Kasalis, Chairman of the Federation of Latvian Cargo-Handling Companies, signed a Memorandum of Understanding. All parties wish to strengthen and expand the cooperation between the ports of Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja in Latvia and those in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. The agreement lays the foundation for an even more intensive exchange of data and experience, as well as a joint blueprint for implementing international partnerships in the transport and logistics sector.
"I am pleased that this time we have signed a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding that will further strengthen the ties between our Latvian and German ports," said Uldis Reimanis, adding: "Once again, the dates of the German-Latvian Port Forum coincided with the visit of the Latvian President, and it was a great honour to welcome the President of the Republic of Latvia, Eglis Levits, as our guest of honour at our event. This is excellent proof of the support at the highest level of government for the cooperation between our two countries in the transport and logistics sector."
Axel Mattern, CEO of HHM, emphasised that a close partnership is all the more important in times like these: "Trade and shipping have linked Hamburg and Latvia since the Hanseatic era. Today, in times of tremendous upheaval and a new geopolitical reality, it is even more important to combine all our common strengths in order to demonstrate true solidarity on a regional and global level".
Janis Kasalis also stressed the great value of the signature for the partnership: “The Federation of Latvian Cargo-Handling Companies unites all the major service providers in Ventspils, Liepaja and Riga, representing more than 95 percent of all cargo handled in Latvian ports. I am absolutely certain that the acceptance of the Federation as the third party to the Memorandum of Understanding is solid proof that both the Latvian government and business are working hand in hand to achieve mutual benefits for the sake of all participants. As the saying goes, if you don't start today, you won't be successful tomorrow. I am very pleased that we have taken another step forward in our cooperation with our partners."
During their visit to Hamburg and Lübeck, the thirty-strong Latvian delegation also showed interest in best practices in hinterland transport. Along with its very well-equipped Baltic ports, Latvia also has an excellent rail network. The latter is used for delivering and collecting bulk and general cargoes in the seaports’ hinterland. Developing new business potential is one of Latvia's main development goals for the coming years.
Latvia’s foreign trade is heavily concentrated in the Baltic region and Germany ranks third among suppliers of Latvian imports. The Baltic region is a highly attractive for northern European ports, and competition for cargo and trade routes is fierce. Hamburg acts as a central hub for the Baltic region at the interface with global overseas trade. The excellent transport connection with the Port of Lübeck enables optimal solutions for trailer and ferry transport chains to and from Latvia. Both ports want to take the already excellent relations to an even higher level.
In 2022, seaborne container handling between the Port of Hamburg and Latvia reached a total of 69,300 TEU - 20-ft standard containers. In 2022, the three Latvian ports of Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja handled a total of 58 million tons, making them the Baltic market leader. Two liner services connect the Port of Hamburg with Riga, Latvia’s largest port. In addition, Stena Line’s ferry link with Liepaja makes the Port of Lübeck an important hub for cargo flows between Germany and Latvia.
On 27 April, the President of Latvia, Eglis Levits (12th from left), opened the German-Latvian Port Days in Lübeck.