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Estonian logistics firms: trade volumes with east have been stable in recent years

BC, Tallinn, 29.09.2017.Print version
East-west trade flows have been stable in recent years while trade with Central Asia has grown, yet the capacities of ports and railroads in eastern Europe continue to be bigger than freight flows, logistics and transport executives said at a conference in Tallinn on September 28th, cites LETA/BNS.

"Yes, we have more capacities on the market than freight flows. The situation is especially difficult in Finland, for instance, where an abundance of port and storage facilities was built in the past 20 years, which now stand almost idle. The Baltic countries have the same problem, although on a smaller scale," the manager of the logistics company CF&S, Tiit Arus, told BNS at the conference on Baltic Sea ports and maritime trade.

Arus said that in recent years intensification of trade with countries Central Asia can be observed. Yet Russia too has been increasing the capacity of its ports, which is further diverting freight flows away from the Baltic countries.

Martin Mannik, manager of the Estonian subsidiary of Mannlines, said that while the worst backlash to trade between the EU and Russia caused by the sanctions is over, cargo volumes have not, and apparently never will, return to the highs of the turn of the century.

"International trade relations are hugely important. The trade that we used to have with Russia no longer is. Although a portion of trade has returned, it's not the same as before. This has reduced profit and profitability. At the same time, this situation has been stable for a couple of years already," Mannik said.  

A period of low profitability in east-west trade will rather persist, according to the executives, as competition on the market is intense and Russia continues to develop its ports too.

The two-day event, titled Baltic Sea Ports and Shipping 2017, has brought leading experts and executives of the logistics business to Tallinn to hold discussions on new business opportunities and trade routes and the challenges brought about by changing technology.

Some 170 delegates from all over the world are taking part in the conference.

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