In August, the Freeport of Riga saw the largest number of ships serviced per month since 2014, namely, 340 merchants ships.
During the first eight months of this year 2,456 ships have been serviced, 144 more than in the previous year. The largest increase (+24%) this year was recorded for bulk carriers that leave the Port with timber material, peat, various cargoes of metal and agricultural products. The number of container ships has grown by 13 % as well.
Harbour Master Arturs Brokovskis explains: “Our main task is to ensure safe shipping at the port. While the increase in the number and size of ships means more work for the responsible services of the Port, we are fully prepared to receive even more ships. This summer the weather was very good, so there were practically no difficulties in this regard. Should the number of ships, especially the larger ones, continue to rise, we might need to engage another tug company to avoid ships being placed on standby. As for now, we are managing everything very well.”
An increasing number of heavy-lift ships are arriving at the Freeport. During the first eight months of 2018, 7.7% of all cargo ships were large ships with deadweight tonnage (DWT) exceeding 50,000 tonnes. This is also the highest share of large ships during the last 10 years, and shows that not only the number of ships but also the volumes of cargoes carried increase. The increase of the sizes and tonnages of ships is a worldwide trend that is based on economic considerations and is also felt by the Freeport of Riga.
The guiding of large ships is a greater challenge for the tug service, while their service rests with the terminals of the Port,” the Harbour Master added. To ensure safe shipping, professionalism of the staff and maintenance of a safe shipping infrastructure is important. This means continuous work to maintain the depth of the shipping lanes and quays, provide for turn-around facilities for the ships, as well as continuous investments in various navigation safety measures.
In the area of navigation safety, currently one of the main tasks is the development of a hydrodynamic model for the water area of the port, which is expected to be completed by the 1stof November this year. Various hydro-technical works, sea-bed cleaning activities and construction of new quays and other structures change the geometry of the port’s water area, which, in turn, affects the hydrodynamic processes at the port, such as water currents, formation of waves and movement of ice. The new model will allow more precise forecasting of various hydrodynamic processes and their effect on ships arriving at the port, and the hydro-technical structures.