On December 12, Ambassador of Latvia Mr Andris Teikmanis met with the United States Secretary of Transportation Ms Elaine L. Chao to discuss cooperation between the two countries in the fields of transportation and logistics. Ambassador Teikmanis emphasized the important role of Latvia in the larger context of the Baltic countries’ connectivity networks. The railway and port infrastructure of Latvia ensures handling of the largest amount of cargo among all three Baltic countries, and provides connectivity between Europe and Asia.
Secretary Chao sent her warm regards to the Minister of Transport of Latvia Mr Uldis Augulis. She thanked Latvia for its strong support in the fight against terrorism, especially for the participation of the Latvian troops in various missions abroad. Secretary Chao also confirmed that the United States is eager to further cooperate with Latvia in the fields of transportation and logistics.
Ambassador Teikmanis pointed out that the Riga International Airport (RIX) is the main aviation hub in the Baltic countries managing the flow of about half of all passengers. The RIX is close to reaching another record by serving more than 6 million passengers this year after the recent expansion of the passenger terminal and the modernization of the fleet of the national air carrier airBaltic with the new Bombardier CS-300. Latvia is also very interested in having more direct flights with the United States.
Cruise ship connections is another fast growing area between both countries. In 2017, cruise passengers from the United States accounted for the largest group (85.9 thousand or 28.5%) of passengers served by the Riga Passenger Terminal.
Ambassador Teikmanis also talked about opportunities for the United States businesses in the large-scale Baltic and Latvian infrastructure projects. Both Rail Baltica and the railway electrification project are open to the participation of American companies.