In the first quarter of this year, 583,800t of grain and grain products were shipped from the Freeport of Riga, up 65.1% year-on-year.
The port authority said this is the largest increase in turnover among all types of cargo transhipped at the port. Almost half (271,100t) of the total volume was exported by the port’s terminals in March, at the time that the COVID-19 Pandemic broke out. All this volume was wheat grown in Latvia.
In the first three months, ships with grain cargo left Riga for ports in 13 countries worldwide. The final destination for half of all grain shipments was Nigeria, but grain was also shipped to Turkey, South Africa, Sudan, Lebanon, Egypt and ports in European countries.
In terms of volume, the largest type of transhipped cargo in the first quarter of the year at Riga was timber, which accounted for 24% of the port’s cargo throughput, and is almost entirely locally sourced export product. In Q1, 1.5 Mt of various timber products were shipped from the port, up 0.9% on the same period a year earlier.
This year, the volume of pellets (+9.4%), wood chips (+30.4%) and sawn timber (+90.7%) shipped from the port significantly increased. At the same time, due to a decrease of demand, exports of roundwood decreased by 27.9%.
“The record volume of grain products transhipped in March was 100% grain grown in Latvia. We attribute the high turnover in March to the high demand and good prices in the grain market,” said Valerijs Fjodorovs, commercial director of SIA Alpha Osta, the largest grain terminal in the Port of Riga.
“Sellers tried to take advantage of the good market conditions and sell grain stocks, which in turn was reflected in grain export volumes and terminal transhipment rates. At the same time, we have already started preparing for the next season, hoping that after a mild winter, Latvia will have a good grain harvest again.”