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2021 March 12 11:47

Lithuania’s Ministry of Transport and Communications reports on transport market results 2020

The year 2020 was a challenging year for the transport sector. All communication was heavily constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic, also, part of the EU Mobility package provisions came into force. However, with the exception of the most severely impacted aviation and passenger transport sectors, changes in the communications sector may be seen as moderate with some results even exceeding expectations. The 2020 Transport Market Report prepared by the Ministry of Transport and Communications states that last year the transport sector saw the increase in freight transport, while the Seaport of Klaipėda reached its all-time load record.

Despite the decrease in corporate activity turnover and generated added value, total number of the transport sector employees and companies remained stable. Freight transport shows some positive changes in this regard: on the basis of provisional data, the number of employees in this field increased by 4.6 percent and the companies by 3.5 percent within a year.

Last year, compared to 2019, the export of transport services dropped by 4 percent. The main transport export markets remained the same with Germany, France, Russia, the Netherlands and Denmark among the largest. From January through September 2020, compared to the same period of 2019, the export of transport services to Germany and the Netherlands increased by 4.8 percent and 5.4 percent, accordingly, while the Lithuanian companies’ activity reduced by 12 percent in Russian and by 10 percent in Latvian markets. The export of services to the United Kingdom experienced the major decline due to Brexit and dropped by 27 percent.

The report also notes that last year, compared to 2019, the total volume of cargo transported by all modes of transport increased by 2.3 percent. A 4.9 percent growth of which was recorded for road transport (105.7 million tonnes), and a 3.2 percent decline for railway (53.4 million tonnes). Loading in the Seaport of Klaipėda grew by 3.3 percent and reached a record-breaking level (47.8 million tonnes). 16 percent more cargo was transported through airports (19.9 thousand tonnes).

The reason behind such growth in the Seaport of Klaipėda is bulk cargo loading with the highest increase in cereals (by 32 percent) and fertilisers (by 12.2 percent). There was a decrease in loading of metals (by 27 percent), oil products (by 21 percent) and containers (by 9.8 percent). As provisional data suggest, loading between the ports of the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea increased only in the ports of Klaipėda and Tallinn last year.

It should be noted that last year, in the context of the Baltic States, Lithuanian Railways performed the most rail freight operations and experienced the smallest (3.2 percent) cargo loss, compared to Latvia and Estonia where rail freight decreased by 43 percent and 15 percent, accordingly. Lithuanian results were mostly supported by freight of cereals.

The aviation sector experienced the worst recession due to COVID-19. Compared to 2019, passenger flows in Lithuanian airports dropped by 72 percent last year (from 6.5 million to 1.8 million). Vilnius airport serviced 1.31 million passengers (74 percent less), Kaunas airport – 0.37 million passengers (68 percent less), Palanga – 0.12 million passengers (63 percent less). The number of flights decreased by 52 percent, the number of flight destinations by 30 percent. The 16 percent growth of cargo loading in airports was facilitated by large volumes of medical aids transported to Lithuania by special flights.

Due to the pandemic, passenger transportation by all modes of transport in 2020 decreased in total by 36.8 percent. Compared to 2019, 39.4 percent less passengers travelled by trains (3.3 million), and 26.3 percent less by sea transport (0.3 million). 37.7 percent less passengers travelled by road transport (232.5 million), of which, 42.8 percent less by trolleybuses and 36.2 percent less by buses. However, the exception to this, inland waterway transport saw the increase in passenger numbers by more than double, i.e. 134.5 percent (5 million passengers) which was mainly the result of more frequent ferry trips between Klaipėda and the Curonian Spit.