Port Riga (Latvia) is located on Daugava River, approx 15 km (10 ml) from Baltic Sea (Gulf of Riga). The city has population around 650,000 (metro over 1 million), and in 2016 was visited by over 2,3 million tourists.
Riga is the largest city and capital of Latvia, and also among the major financial and economic centres in Northern Europe. About half of all Latvian jobs are in Riga. The city generates over 50% of country's GDP and half of its exports. The largest exporters are in the industries of IT technologies and applications, wood products, food and beverage manufacturing, transportation, metallurgy, pharmaceuticals. The city is served by Riga International Airport. By traffic it is ranked as the largest in the Baltic states, serving regularly scheduled direct flights to 100 airports in 30 countries.
The historic downtown is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city attracts tourists with its sightseeing, active nightlife and diverse cuisine options. Southern Bridge (opened in 2008) over Daugava River was the largest construction project in Baltic countries. With huge building cost (over EUR 815 million), the bridge was constructed specifically to reduce downtown's traffic congestion.
Riga is among Baltic Sea's largest cargo ports, handling annually over 34 million tons of cargoes. It also has a potential for future growth via new port development project on Krievu Sala Island. The seaport facilitates passenger (ferry and cruise via Riga Passenger Terminal) and cargo shipping traffic. Tallink-Silja-operated ferries connect the city to Stockholm.
Riga Port City is a harbor (dockland) redevelopment project started in 2006 by OMA. It was developed in two phases - A (design, initial studies, conceptual blueprints, physical masterplan) and B (blueprint, marketing strategy).
Regularly scheduled ferries connect Riga with Stockholm (Sweden). The service (7 weekly crossings, travel time 18 hours) is provided by TALLINK-SILJA LINE. In 2006, AS Tallink Grupp purchased Attica Group's Baltic services for EUR 310 million. Then was opened the Riga-Stockholm route.
In 2017, the cruise port handled a total of 86 ship calls and nearly 90,000 passengers. As of March 2018, the port had scheduled 91 cruise ship calls, including 6 maiden calls. In season 2018 were handled over 75,000 cruise tourists. Port Riga plans to increase its annual cruise shipping traffic to over 160,000 passengers by year 2030.
In January 2018, Freeport Riga Authority started works on creating the port's development plan for the period 2020-2030. It includes development trends, infrastructural improvements, developing new logistics routes, sustainable environmental policy. The new port development plan was scheduled for completion by the end of 2018.
On July 20, 2018, the port received its largest ever cruise liner - Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas (length 293 m, width 40 m, max draught 8,5 m). The ship moored right into downtown, which became possible after cleaning works (riverbed sediments) done in port's approach channel and turning basin (near Vansu Bridge). Previously, such larger ships moored at KS Terminal pier (Krievu Island), where water depth and turning basin's size are proper. After cleaning the sediments, the swinging basin's diameter was extended from 380 to 400 m (1312 ft) which is the max possible in regard to existing port infrastructure. These works (done by Rohde Nielsen AS) included over 111000 m3 of excavated soil used for construction works in Kudziņsala.
In 2018, Port Riga reported around 1/3 increase in timber cargo shipping - around 4,4 million tons - handled at 13 different terminals. Most timber products (sawn wood, pulpwood, woodchips) are Latvian export, some are from Belarus. Processing at the timber terminals includes impregnation, fumigation, drying, containerization, storage. The export is mainly to UK, Denmark and Sweden.
For season 2019, the port had scheduled/booked a total of 85 cruise ship calls.
Riga cruise terminal
Port Riga has three cruise ship berths dedicated for passenger ships. Berths MK-3 and MK-4 have total length of 463 m (1519 ft) and capacity to accommodate vessels with LOA length up to 290 m (951 ft). At Berth JPS-1 can dock smaller ships - with max LOA length 110 m (361 ft).
When all three berths are occupied, cruise ships can dock at Berth JPS-2 (dedicated to ferries), which is adjacent to Berth JPS -1.
The existing infrastructure of port's cruise facilities is insufficient. Riga Passenger Terminal is too small to handle larger (and newbuild) liners. As an alternative was proposed to be built a new terminal at Krievu Island. This location is currently used for handling cruise vessels during peak periods only as it is not suitable due to the long distance from downtown and also its unattractive environment.
Riga Passenger Terminal (ferry and cruise)
The cruise terminal (Riga Passenger Terminal) is located on Daugava River, and next to the ferry berth JPS-2. The building provides all the relevant services for safety and security. The distance between the cruise terminal and downtown is easily walkable (only 0,5 km, approx 10-min walk). At the pier there is a taxi rank. Local transportation services also include buses, trolleys and trams.
- Ferry terminal address is "3a Eksporta Str, Riga, LV-1010"
- The facility is open between 9 am - 6 pm. The building houses waiting hall, luggage room, ATM machines, currency exchange desk, cafe restaurant.
- Car parking (Europark) costs EUR 12 per vehicle per day (24 hours).
The cruise-ferry terminal can be reached from downtown via trams (bus lines 5, 7, 6, 9, 11). Kronvalda Bulvaris station is located approx 500 m from the terminal. Tram's second stop (Nacionala) is downtown.
Riga tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Town Hall Square: there you will see a replica of the statue of the Patron saint of Riga, Roland, the town hall and the House of Blackheads. The square most beautiful around Christmas.
- Freedom Monument: famous landmark with a lot of symbols. The statue represent a woman who was robbed. She is atop a column and holds high three starts. Originally each star represented a Latvian religion (Lutheran, Catholic and Orthodox). During Soviet time, each time represented a Baltic country and the woman was Mother Russia.
- Central Market: grand market where you can buy almost everything.
- Powder Tower: a relic that remained from the medieval defensive system in Riga. Currently, it is a part of the Military Museum.
- Three Brothers: those are three buildings that date back in the 15, 17, and 18 centuries. They are the oldest stone building in Riga. One of the buildings is the home of the Museum of Architecture.
- St. Peter’s Church: located in the Old Town. The most amazing part is the tower.
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