It is expected that in a few years, if the project develops successfully, a new passenger and ro-ro cargo terminal, Riga Ropax Terminal, will be opened in Riga Freeport. This will give Riga a permanent place on the European cruise port map, a new lease of life for ferry lines and new opportunities for the development of the ro-ro cargo segment.
BNN interviewed Jūlija Bērziņa, Project Leader of Riga Ropax Terminal, about the progress of the project and future plans.
In mid-September you participated in Seatrade Europe, the largest exhibition for cruise industry professionals in Hamburg. Did you discuss any future plans to put Riga on the cruise map?
- This is Europe's largest cruise trade fair, with both sea and river cruise operators and industry experts. In many parts of Europe, multi-day inland river cruises are very popular. The major ports such as Amsterdam and Hamburg were present, but of course also the ports of Riga, Klaipeda and Tallinn.
There is communication between the ports, the cruise lines and also with various other types of companies, such as us - Riga Ropax Terminal, which is still working on developing a new passenger and roll on/roll off terminal in Riga. We mainly focused on communication with potential investors and with cruise lines.
Can we expect more cruise ships to come to Riga in the future than before?
- Riga is facing different challenges as cruise ships are getting bigger and bigger. The infrastructure in existing passenger ports does not always meet the needs of these ships. Cruise ships longer than 300 metres cannot be accommodated in the city centre at the moment, so they are moored at Krievu Island (Krievu sala), the bulk terminal.
This approach does not fit the cruise concept in the long term. Imagine a person who has come on a cruise for a nice relaxing holiday, gets off at the cargo terminal instead of the passenger terminal, takes a bus to the city centre for an hour or more, has a quick look around and goes back?