At the beginning of February, a large vessel with Latvian timber products to be exported to the USA was loaded at the Riga port company “KS Terminal”.
The 200-meter-long bulk carrier “Kambos” left Riga sailing to the port of Houston in the USA with 20,000 m3 of wood particle boards, which were made at the Latvian plant of the company “Kronospan”, Freeport of Riga says in a press release.
The transshipment volumes of Latvian wood processing products in the port of Riga are growing every year. Last year, 6 million tons of various timber products was handled at the terminals of the Port of Riga, ranking them at the top of the largest cargo groups of the Port of Riga providing a quarter of the total port portfolio. The largest timber market for Latvian exporters is European countries, which can be reached by large vessels – bulk carriers. Vessels of this size regularly arrive at “KS Termina” berths for loading forestry cargo.
Latvian exporters are shipping timber cargo to the US markets on a regular basis, but this is usually done in smaller quantities and in containers with transshipment in Rotterdam, or in one of the other major European container ports. Container cargo transshipment via other ports is undoubtedly much more expensive than sending cargo directly from Riga to the final destination, and there is a certain impact on the competitiveness of Latvian wood processing exports.
“We hope that this first project, with a large consignment of wood industry products directly to the United States, will serve as a signal for Latvian timber producers and exporters to unite, consolidate large-scale freight and deliver directly to the US market. This could be particularly relevant at a time when, as a result of the global crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, containers in Europe are not available in the required quantities and are disproportionately expensive. At the port terminal, we can provide cargo reception, consolidation, storage, processing and other logistics processes for handling such cargo,” emphasized Ēriks Cešeiko, Chairman of the Board of SIA “KS Terminal”.
Kristaps Klauss, the Head of the Latvian Forest Industry Federation, also describes the US market as a promising one for Latvian timber producers: “The US market is like a lottery, it is a market of great opportunities. Currently, the prices for timber products in the US market are fantastically high, and those Latvian companies operating in the US market from last summer until now have won this lottery.”
The forestry sector in Latvia produces a very wide range of products, and more than 80% of the production is exported. Latvian wood processing products are exported to more than 100 countries every year. “The volumes and geography of timber exports are definitely expanded by the possibility of freight delivery via Latvian ports. Latvian exporters are already actively working with countries such as China, Japan, South Korea and the countries of the Middle East, and now their interest in the US market is growing”, added the Head of the Latvian Forest Industry Federation.
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