The Baltic Course  

The Baltic Course - Spring 2003
Spring 2003


Editor's Note  


Baltic central banks: highly paid and overcrowded
Out of the three current prime ministers in the Baltic states, two – Einars Repse of Latvia and Siim Kallas of Estonia used to run their country’s central bank. If one were to also recall the Ukrainian ex-premier, also former president of the Bank of Ukraine, the importance of the leading position in central banks and the great role these central banks play in post-Soviet countries becomes quite obvious  


Black trails of white steamers
Throughout the world shipping companies are under constant supervision by consignors, business people and … corrupt state officials. It is no coincidence that the privatization of Baltic shipping companies followed the same scenario  

Grain of rationality
Natural disasters have yet again shuffled players of the world grain market, turning recognized leaders – Canada, Argentina and Australia – into outsiders and making long-time wheat importers – the CIS countries – into exporters. The reversal of the West-East direction, while not robbing the Baltic states of their profits from grain transit, will, however, create certain troubles for them  


Transit on wheels – new opportunities for universal port
The beginning of 2003 presented a serious challenge to port Ventspils in north-western Latvia. Liquid cargo used to account for more than 70% of total turnover at this port, but has now been cut off from crude oil pipeline supplies altogether from Russia since mid-December last year. Nevertheless, cargo turnover in the first two months of this year show that the oil terminals at Ventspils are not standing idle. Moreover, cargo handling is even increasing. The port found a way out of the dramatic situation by switching focus on cargo supplied by rail  


Can’t live off crude oil alone
The expected EU accession of the Baltic states opens up new prospects for Baltic terminals handling liquid chemical and oil chemical transit cargo, because the Western market – in  Europe –numbers 350 million clients, while in the East – the CIS – there are 300 million  


New oil terminal for Riga port
Initially the terminal’s oil product reloading capacity was planned at 10 million tons a year but after the environmental impact assessment procedure this figure was cut to 2.5 million tons. The scope of the project is yet unprecedented in Latvia. Baltic Oil Terminal president Nikolai Yermolayev promises to build “one of the safest oil terminals in the world”  


Flying in dreams and real life
The Lithuanaian people have elected a new president. The energetic and youthful Rolandas Paksas is certain that Lithuania will lead a more prosperous and comfortable life by its one-thousandth anniversary in six years time. The Lithuanian president shared this and other thoughts with the BC right after his inauguration in early March.  


Lithuania – my Motherland
At all times, the issue of national identity has been considered as one of the trickiest ones. After regaining independence, the Baltic States were again faced to deal with the issue. Nevertheless, it seems that only the Republic of Lithuania has managed to solve the problem of national minorities in a favourable way, now experiencing far less problems than its other two Baltic neighbours  

Analyses of the new security situation in Europe
More than one and a half years since the September 11 attack on the United States, the security situation in Europe has not yet calmed down. On the contrary, the situation is increasingly tense, and concerns everyone in any of the European cities on a daily basis.  


Enough work force, specialists wanted
In the USA, employment agents are even killed in broad daylight. In the Baltics, all is quiet for now, however, experts forecast an big bang for the labour market. This bang will be caused by a growing excess of certified specialists, who cannot find a proper job  


Future of Riga Central Market – Europe’s largest and most up-to-date marketplace  


On the EU threshold
For the last few years the real estate market in the Baltic states has made a big jump in development and today is considered as the most dynamic of all post Soviet countries  

We made it in time to the Baltics
The Pro Kapital Group is well known in the real estate market of Latvia and Estonia with its grand projects. The secret of success lies in a very carefully thought over strategy and persistent attention to every, even seemingly the most unimportant, detail. The president of Pro Kapital Group, Paolo Michelozzi, gave us an insight to the company’s success so far in the Baltics  

Steady growth
According to various estimations in 2002, the Baltic state IT market amounted to half a billion to one billion US dollars. Half of this entire amount accounted to the IT services market. Nevertheless, it is quite impossible to evaluate the precise scope of the Baltic IT market  


Under the wing of an angel
The Streets of Death was the name of one of the most abandoned areas in the centre of Vilnius some years ago, called Uzupis on the map. Today this last bastion of romance has its own coat of arms, four flags and its own president. The BC met the president of Uzupis, Romas Lileikis, in one of the pubs on the border of this small country in Lithuania’s capital