The Baltic Course  

The Baltic Course - Fall 2002
Fall 2002


Let's be more diplomatic and wealthier
Latvian carriers undoubtedly are interested in increasing cargo turnover. This would also add substantially to the national budget. Therefore both businessmen and civil servants have been turning their sights to Central Asia for quite some time. Kazakhstan is one of the most perspective directions. How much the Asian countries need us is another question. This is what the BC discussed with Latvian Transportation Ministry transit policy department head Andris Maldups before the Latvian transport business delegation left for Astana, Kazakhstan's capital  

Kazakhstan - A link in the East-West transit chain
  The Balts have developed an increasing interest in Kazakhstan in recent years.  This June a large group of Baltic businessmen went to Kazakhstan for the 4th international conference TransEurasia 2002. The Baltic states, as well as CIS states want to have their share of transit between the East and West on the rapidly growing market of transportation services  

Businessmen of all countries - unite
In July the International Congress of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs celebrated its tenth anniversary. The Baltic course met with Viktor Glukhikh, president of this public body, uniting businessmen from 22 countries across Europe and Asia. The talk, in particular, was about participation of the Baltic states in this congress  

Uzbek Baltic Center makes bridges
The Uzbek Baltic Center International Trade and Industrial Association was created at the beginning of 2002. The Main purpose of the organization is to stimulate international trade between the region of Asia and the Baltics. So the primary task of the association on its development stage will be a creation of an information database, advertisement of the organization and its activities, advertisement of its associated members, assistance in organizing joint-ventures, development of investment programs and participation in the development of trade and economic relations of the Baltic states and Uzbekistan. The association is a classic organization of its sort, however at the same time it has some distinguishing features: founders of the association are well situated in the business sphere, they know the legal, taxation, financial-credit and foreign-economic ambience of activities both in the Baltic states and in the Asian region.  

Uzbekistan-Baltics: as trade grows  


Have living conditions improved?
At least 30 years to reach the standard of living
Standard of living is measured by various indicators - average income per capita, GDP per capita, the share of population living on an income not exceeding a dollar a day, share of food expenditure, etc. All these indicators show that it will take at least three decades for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to reach the average living standard of the European Union, which the Baltic States are eager to join  


Ignalina - the pros and cons
The Ignalina nuclear power plant, the only plant producing atomic power in the Baltic states, will by the request of politicians be closed by 2010. A few more decades will still be necessary to carry out the work connected to decommissioning the nuke plant and export or store nuclear waste. Outside the Baltics, closing atomic plants is becoming a new branch of industry compensating social consequences caused by the shutdown of nuclear reactors  

A remote presence of biodiesel
Despite recommendations from the EU, the introduction of biodiesel into the market of car fuel is in the Baltic states hindered by the price for oil products which is currently too low. The most inexpensive product for car refueling today is natural gas. However, it is popular mainly only in Lithuania  

The new nuke: Finland's complicated choice  

Power supply safety in the Baltic Sea region
On September 26-27 Latvia's port city Ventspils is hosting an international conference on Safety of Energy Resource Supplies in the Baltic Sea Region in the Context of EU Enlargement. The organizers of the conference are the European Commission and the government of Latvia. The conference envisages the participation of representatives from all states of the region, Russia included. Questions asked by the BC are answered by patrons of the conference - the Prime Minister of Latvia Andris Berzins and the head of the Delegation of the European Commission in Latvia, Andrew Rasbash, as well as the mayor of the host city Ventspils and president of the Latvian Association of Transit Business, Aivars Lembergs.  


The EU's White Paper
This presentation at the seventh international Moscow Transport and Logistics conference in March this year underlined the main directions for the European Union's activities in the sphere of transport in the light of the recently published so-called White Paper. The author also looked at the possible influence of this document on Russia's transportation sector  

The future for the Ostsee is in containers
One of the most notable presentations at the seventh international Transport and Logistics conference in Moscow was this analysis on maritime container shipments on the Baltic Sea region. We have published this speech in shortened version for our readers  

Heavy and nonstandard cargo
The BC has conducted research which shows that carriers from Latvia transport heavy and nonstandard cargo to the CIS and the Baltic states with their own vehicles but to Western Europe they haul cargo to ferries, with goods further loaded into the vehicles of European partners. The main internal competitors are St. Petersburg and Tallinn. In the near future orders by ports, oil companies, construction companies, power suppliers and food suppliers can be expected  

Transport by road - special rules
Transport of heavy and nonstandard cargo in Latvia is regulated by institutions subject to the Ministry of Transport.  


New oil export routes
Making entry to the Asian market is always related with lenghty and delicate negotiations on two levels - with government agencies and business people. Ventspils Nafta oil terminal first deputy board chairman, Janis Blazevics, told the BC about steps being taken to set up business contacts in Kazakhstan ahead of the trip to the 4th international conference TransEurasia 2002.  

Light at the end of the corridor
At the international conference Transport and Logistics 2002 in Riga this April we were most impressed by speaches delivered by the Eurasian Transport Union's vice-president, Yuri Shcherbanin, and the Ventspils Trade Port company council chairman, also chairman of the Kalija Parks mineral fertilizer terminal, Oleg Stepanov  

Adjusted forecast for the Russian transport sector's social and economic development in 2002-2004
Total transport revenues are estimated around 249 billion rubles (USD 8.3 b) - for comparison: in 1999 the revenues were 150 billion rubles (USD 5 b).  


Ventspils ready for any cargo
The BC spoke to Imants Sarmulis, the manager of Latvia's Ventspils Free Port in north-western Latvia, just as he was about to make a visit to Kazakhstan. We spoke about the port's unlimited possibilities following its radical modernization process   

Waiting for trains
Baltic state free ports step up pace and wait for their train to come in
The golden business rule of time is money demands that no market player stand still. So if we look at the Baltic Sea as a huge train station, the five major Baltic state sea ports and their free-zones aren't exactly dozing on the bench while most of them seem to be waiting for their train to come in  


From Berlin to Tampere in a few hours?
The inhabitants of the Baltic Sea region have always had much in common psychologically, historically and economically. And therefore the superproject Via Baltica, which concerns the interests of the inhabitants of this region - from the Finnish city Tampere via Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw to Berlin in Germany, relates to diverse spheres such as environmental protection and preservation of cultural heritage as well as infrastructure - air, sea and land road systems  


For the city and the people
According to an established tradition, in April, architects, builders and commissioners choose the most interesting projects of the year in different categories. This year, architects from Tallinn won the special prize for a project rebuilding the of St. Brigitta Monastery. In Riga, undoubtedly, the new main building of the Bank of Latvia was announced the best project of the year. Vilnius awarded the best prize to new suburban homes around the capital  

Who's to set the telecom market forecast?
On January 1, 2003, The Latvian fixed-line telecommunications market will be demonopolised. Many companies declare that they wish to become competitors to the current monopoly Lattelekom. Nevertheless, the rules of the game in the free market are still unclear, because the regulatory institutions are not hurrying with dotting all their I's. And if we take into account that currently the companies Sonera and Telia have formed a powerful bloc, there is a risk that the monopoly de jure may even turn into a monopoly de facto.  


With a diploma - around the world
In early summer exams at schools take place across the Baltics. and not long after that come entrance exams at universities and higher education establishments. The BC took a look into the current situation concerning the diplomas of higher education establishments in the Baltic states, which ones are recognised abroad, and which foreign degrees are recognised in the Baltic states  


Transport at your own risk
Transport of goods is a serious business and like any other serious business it has a certain risk involved in its operations. Where there is a risk, there is also insurance at hand which bears the risk of potential losses. Due to the geographical location in the Baltic states, transport of goods has become one of the main sectors of the economy. However, for the time being insurance services are still rarely used  


150 happy women
You can tell a happy woman by her eyes. Sister Joanna's beaming blue eyes and gentle smile make her face look beautiful. In her worldly life, accustomed to French perfumes and a diversity of clothes she felt neither beautiful nor happy. This former journalist has obtained peace and freedom behind convent walls