At the end of the year, 5,414 licensed commercial freight and passenger transport companies were registered in Latvia, which is 0.4% more than in 2020 and 4.4% more than in 2019.
The number of licensed international road hauliers reached 4,769 at the end of the year, which is 2% more than in 2020 and 7% more than in 2019. At the same time, the number of domestic cargo carriers has decreased – at the end of the year, 221 carriers were licensed, which is by 18% and 19% less, respectively, compared to 2020 and 2019.
The number of licensed lorries carrying out international road transport last year, compared to 2020, has hardly changed – in 2021, 15,918 vehicles were licensed, which is 10 units less than in 2020 and 2% less than in 2020. with 2019. At the end of 2021, the number of licensed lorries carrying domestic transportation was 5,458, which is 2% and 0.3% more than in 2020 and 2019, respectively.
In total, 78,147 one-time international permits were issued to Latvian carriers last year, which is 1% more than in 2020. As in other years, last year the greatest demand was for permits for transportation to Russia, and 53,997 such permits were submitted to Latvian carriers. There has also been a great demand for permits for shipments to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Last year, Germany, France, the Scandinavian and Baltic countries were also popular destinations for Latvian road hauliers.
Last year, a total of 7,067 digital tachograph cards were issued, which is 21% more than in 2020. The number of self-transport certificates issued has also increased – in 2021, 4232 certificates were issued, which is 7% more than in 2020.
The number of valid driver attestations issued to drivers who are not nationals or residents of any Member State of the European Union (EU) has been increasing in recent years. At the end of last year, there were 6,734 driver’s licenses in force, 5,883 in 2020 and 4,227 in 2019. Representatives of the Road Transport Directorate explain that this indicates a lack of professional drivers in the Latvian freight transport labor market increase in average age.
Kristiāns Godiņš, Chairman of the Road Transport Directorate, points out that in general, the cargo turnover in 2021 has increased compared to 2020, which means that, similarly to other sectors, international transport companies have also adapted to the restrictions imposed by Covid-19.
He emphasized that new challenges awaited carriers following the entry into force of Mobility Package I. For example, a requirement to return the vehicle to the country of registration every eight weeks will come into force in February, a system for sending drivers will be introduced, and changes in cabotage will be introduced.
Godins explains that this will increase the administrative burden for both entrepreneurs and competent authorities. The extra number of kilometers traveled will also be detrimental to the environment. Last year, the European Commission published a study on the impact of the new rules, which estimates that emissions could rise by as much as 3.3 million tonnes a year, compared to Estonia’s total annual transport emissions.
Due to the measures restricting the spread of Covid-19, international regular passenger transport by bus was limited in the first half of 2021, while in the second half of the year carriers registered in Latvia in cooperation with foreign partners performed 19% more flights than in the second half of 2020, renewing transport of about 30%. Passenger transport by bus to the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Belarus, Russia and Ukraine was provided.