Last year the transport sector gradually recovered from the impact of the pandemic – according to the annual review of the sector, “Lietuvos geležinkeliai” and Klaipėda Seaport were leading in the Baltic States

The Lithuanian transport and logistics sector, which stopped in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, started to recover and improve indicators last year. In 2021, its revenues, exports of transport services and cargo transport grew, the sector saw an increase in companies and employees, with the highest growth in aviation, as noted in the Transport Market Review 2021 prepared by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Early estimates show that exports of transport services in Lithuania last year, compared to 2020, increased by 7 %, accounting for about 60 % of the country’s total exports of services. The main export markets for transport remained the same in 2021, all of which saw an increase in exports of services: Germany 11 %, France 7.7 %, Russia 1.8 %, the Netherlands 15 %, Denmark 10 %. The highest growth (46 %) was seen in the exports of transport services to Poland. 74 % of exports of transport services came from services to the European Union.

The review notes that last year, compared to 2020, all modes of transport carried 5.3 % more cargo in Lithuania (178 million tonnes): road transport carried 8.4 % more (116 million tonnes) and rail transport carried 4.4 % less (51.1 million tonnes). Cargo handling in Klaipėda Seaport has decreased by about 5 % (45.6 million tonnes), and at airports, an increase of 3 % was observed (20.5 thousand tonnes). However, as in previous years, “Lietuvos geležinkeliai” and Klaipėda Seaport maintained the leading position among the Baltic States last year.

LTG Cargo AB carried 51.1 million tonnes of cargo last year, and in Latvia and Estonia, respectively, 20.2 million tonnes and 11.9 million tonnes. In Lithuania, the decrease of rail cargo was due to the loss of Belarusian oil products through Klaipėda Seaport since February 2021. Cargo transport through the Kaunas Intermodal Terminal, which has a European gauge railway connection, has had a positive impact.

Last year, Klaipėda Seaport handled 45.6 million tonnes of cargo, i.e., 4.6 % less than in 2020. The decrease in cargo was mainly due to liquid cargo – oil and oil product handling fell by a quarter and grain handling decreased by 28 %. Positive developments in 2021 were marked by ro-ro cargo (+13 %) and cargo in containers (+8 %).

Lithuania’s aviation sector, which suffered the greatest recession in 2020 as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, saw a significant recovery last year. Compared to 2020, passenger traffic at Lithuanian airports grew by 37 % last year (from 1.8 million to 2.5 million passengers). Vilnius Airport served 1.9 million passengers (+45 %), Kaunas Airport – 0.49 million passengers (+32 %) and Palanga – 0.09 million (-31 %). The number of flights increased by 15 % (34 437 units), the number of flights – 31 % (94 directions).

Experts estimate that the situation in the country’s transport and logistics sector will remain dynamic this year. Road transport operators should continue to increase the volume of cargo transported, but any breakthrough will be hindered by labour shortages, disruptions to logistics chains, the challenges of diversifying markets, and sluggish investment in the digitalisation of transport processes. The sector will undoubtedly be affected by the consequences of the war in Ukraine and of sanctions against Russia and Belarus, especially the rail transport sector and Klaipėda Seaport, which are historically highly dependent on Eastern markets.

Rapidly rising transport inflation (domestic inflation increased by 10.6 %, of which transport inflation was 17.8 %) increases the costs of all transport operations, fuel, wages, fleet renewal and maintenance, which can lead to an increase in transport costs of up to 35 %.

The growing number of rail journeys, the increasingly expensive use of private transport, the decreasing wave of COVID-19 diseases can make it possible for people to return to previous habits and move to public transport, to choose travel not only by train, but also by buses or trolleybuses.

Pranešimą paskelbė: Žydrūnė Tursaitė, LR Susisiekimo ministerija

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