Ports of Stockholm and Freeport of Riga to apply for joint EU funding

The Ports of Stockholm and the Freeport of Riga Authority have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work on a joint application for EU funding to reduce the impact of port activities on the environment.

Image credit Ports of Stockholm

The partnership aims to enable further development of passenger terminals in the two capitals in an environmentally-friendly manner as well as build confidence in the future reintroduction of shipping services between the two capitals.

Since 2010, RoPax ships, carrying both passengers and goods cargo, sailed from the Värta Terminal in Stockholm. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic an average of 700,000 passengers used the sea-route between Stockholm and Riga each year.

However, during the spring of 2020, the shipping company operating the Riga-Stockholm route decided to suspend services due to the severe drop in passenger numbers caused by the pandemic, which made the route unsustainable financially.

“We are very much looking forward to working together with the Freeport of Riga Authority and Riga Ropax Terminal to tackle mutual challenges and explore development opportunities to minimise the environmental impact of cargo transport and passenger services at the Värtahamnen Port. Port terminals with central city locations are of major importance for the flow of both goods and passenger services. In the growing Stockholm, a well-functioning interface between city and port is extremely important,” explains Clara Lindblom, city council responsible for Ports of Stockholm.

Värtahamnen Port is part of a holistically planned and complex environment, where the new Stockholm Royal Seaport buildings and the Värta Terminal combine to form a new waterfront and entrance to Stockholm.

The Freeport of Riga Authority and Riga Ropax Terminal have joined the effort with the goal of improving connectivity between Riga and Stockholm and developing a brand new RoPax terminal in Riga.

“Riga and Stockholm have a very long history of maritime ties. The development of environmentally-friendly and future-oriented passenger infrastructure, as well as the improvement of connectivity within our port, is a key strategic goal for Freeport of Riga,” said Ansis Zeltins, CEO of the Freeport of Riga Authority.

“The signing of this Memorandum emphasizes our joint effort to address existing and future environmental challenges, particularly in the scarce Baltic Sea region, while promoting the development of modern port infrastructure and building sustainable and ‘green’ passenger and freight services between our ports.”

Jūlija Bērziņa, Chair of the Board, as well as Head of the Riga Ropax Terminal project, said that the partnership was significant as activities are underway on the new passenger terminal project in Riga, with a goal of becoming operational and welcoming its first passengers in 2027.

“This step will enable us to collaborate more closely and leverage European funding to achieve our shared goals, and work together more effectively towards sustainable development, including the potential to expand maritime passenger transport,” she said.

The Memorandum of Understanding and the future joint project also aim to fulfill the EU “Fit for 55” goal to reduce net emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 55 percent by the year 2030.