"Transport and logistics industries are of particular importance for the Latvian economy since they have a steady GDP growth and provide services to virtually all other sectors of the national economy."
Every year it is emphasized that this sector should be recognized as a priority and extend its promotion, however, the representatives of the transport and logistics sector are looking forward to more concrete and long-term solutions.
9.1% of the value added to the GDP of Latvia
Despite the political and economic changes of the last decade, the influence of the transport and logistics industry on the economy of our country remains high: in 2016 the sector increased the value added to the GDP by 9.1%. Moreover, the average monthly gross wage is still higher then in other sectors - in 2016 in other sectors of the economy it was 859 euros, whereas in storage and transportation sector the average gross wage is about 870 euros (1,562 euros - water transport, 2,061 euros - air transport, 1059 euros in the storage and auxiliary transport activities, etc.).
Special economic area as an additional support
The positive examples of the logistics industry are the ports that have developed a good structure. Riga and Ventspils ports function as free ports, and the Liepaja port is included in the Liepaja Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Companies operating in free ports and SEZ can receive not only the 0 tax rate for customs, excise, and value-added tax but also a discount of up to 80% of the company's income and up to 100% of the real estate tax. The port is actively implementing various investment projects related to the construction and development of industrial and distribution parks. The attraction of investments promotes the creation of higher added value, development of production, expansion of a spectrum of given services and creation of new workplaces. It is necessary to bring to the attention the small ports - SKULTE, Mērsrags, SALACGRīVA, Pāvilosta, Roja, Jūrmala, and Engure, which currently occupy a stable position in the Latvian economy and have already become regional economic activity centers.
Port of Liepaja, will be the next Rotterdam.
There is also a wide range of opportunities for growth, and a number of actions that can be taken to meet projected targets. There is a strong need for the services with high added value, the increase of the processed volumes of cargo by attracting new freight flows, high-quality passenger service and an introduction of modern technologies and information systems in the area of transit and logistics. Liepaja port has all the chances to become the second Rotterdam in the foreseeable future.
Latvia as a distribution center for cargos from Asia and the Far East.
One of the most important issues for further growth of the port and special economic zone is the development of logistics and distribution centers, mainly focusing on the attraction of goods from Asia and the Far East. Latvia can serve as a distribution center for cargos in the Baltic and Scandinavian countries for Asia and the Far East (f.e. China, Korea). The tax regime of the Liepaja Special Economic Zone in accordance with the Law "On Taxation in Free Ports and Special Economic Zones" on December 31, 2035. This allows traders to conclude an agreement on investment and tax concession until December 31, 2035, until they reach a contractual level of assistance from the investments made. Considering the range of benefits provided by this status, it is necessary to consider the possible extension of the term.
Infrastructure development and expansion of warehouse space
Our advantage lies in the fact that there is not only a strategic geographical position but also a developed infrastructure that includes deep-water berths, cargo terminals, pipelines and territories free from the cargo terminal. Apart from this, we can add a good structure of pre-industrial zone, distribution park, multi-purpose technical equipment, as well as the high level of security not only in terms of delivery but also in terms of the storage and handling of goods. In the future, it would be advisable to pay more attention to access roads (railways and highways), increase the volume of storage facilities, and increase the number of services provided by ports. Participation in international industry exhibitions and conferences will make it possible to attract additional foreign investments and will contribute to the improvement of international image.