Liepāja Special Economic Zone diversifies the capacity of its port
The economic zone is the only one in the Baltics that has a seaport, an airport and industrial area
- October 16, 2020 20:30
- Tzvetozar Vincent Iolov
Liepāja, the third-largest city in Latvia, located on the south-western coast of the country, also counts with the most diversified special economic zone (SEZ) in the Baltic Region. Today, the city’s municipal website reported that there is a trend towards the development of the handling capacity of liquid cargo at the port facilities. During the first nine months of this year, some 473 000 tons of this type of cargo were transited, which represents 10% of the total cargo that has been processed at the site.
Liepāja was an important industrial centre during the Soviet era
When speaking of liquid cargo most people tend to think of crude oil and big tankers, and not the least because it gets the most attention from the media whenever there is an environmental incident. Liquid cargo, however, is much more than that and can include other commodities, such as bitumen, rapeseed oil, molasses and others.
Bitumen, also known as asphalt, is the viscous substance used for road surfacing. It has been central to the recent development in the SEZ. Back in 2013, management realized that there was no need bitumen storage facility anywhere in the Baltic region and that there was a dire need for one.
Since then, a storage facility has been constructed and professional technical staff was trained to operate in the unloading, storage and reloading processes which comprise the different steps of trans-shipping.
This has allowed DG Terminals, a company operating at the SEZ to add another berth for ships, construct a 3-km railway line and acquire more environmentally friendly technology. Such an example is the steam collection and cooling equipment, which does not release steam generated in the process but condenses it and returns it to the product or neutralizes it.
The company also plans to install polymer recycling equipment in the near future and introduce emissions-cutting technologies which will contribute to creating a self-sufficient loop by breaking down mixtures into raw materials that can be re-utilized.
The Liepāja Special Economic Zone was created in 1997 with the aim of attracting investment to Latvia. Its Board of Directors consists of representatives from 3 Latvian Ministries (Economy, Finance and Transport), 3 representatives of the City Council and 3 entrepreneurs.
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