The Freeport of Riga Authority was created by law in 1996 when the Riga Commercial Free Port was established. The Freeport of Riga offers tax benefits and flexible customs procedures and has autonomy to make it a competitive and attractive opportunity for foreign investment, trade, manufacturing, and business. The State Joint-Stock Company, Riga Commercial Port, is responsible for leasing port properties to entrepreneurial companies, setting tariffs for port services, and entering into agreements with companies for port operations.
The Freeport of Riga Authority manages the port. The Board is the highest decision-making body, and the Chief Executive Officer manages the administrative staff. The main functions of the Freeport of Riga Authority are to:
The Freeport of Riga covers both banks of the River Daugava for a length of some 15 kilometers. The Freeport of Riga covers a total of 6.3 thousand hectares, including 4.3 thousand hectares of water surface and two thousand hectares of land. The Freeport of Riga's terminals have annual loading capacity for 45 million tons of cargo.
In 2008, the Freeport of Riga served 3894 vessels carrying a total of 29.6 million tons of cargo. Cargoes included 19.4 million tons of dry bulk, 5.4 million tons of liquid bulk, and 4.8 million tons of general cargoes. Cargoes handled in 2008 consisted of coal (47%), oil products (18%), other cargoes (15%), timber (7%), fertilizers (7%), and containerized cargoes (6%).
The commercial Freeport of Riga contains three sectors: the container terminal, the bulk and general cargo regions of Exporta and Andreja, and the 200 hectare Riga Commercial Free Port Development Region. The Freeport of Riga is linked to the nation's road and rail networks for convenient access to the consumer markets in the Commonwealth of Independent States and Russia.
The Freeport of Riga contains over 3100 meters of quays with 21 berths with alongside depths from 6.5 to 10 meters. The port offers 74.5 thousand square meters of warehouses and 329.1 thousand square meters of open storage. The berths are equipped with 41 portable cranes, two floating cranes, 10 container cranes as well as a variety of other cargo-handling equipment in addition to the port's marine service fleet.
The shipyards at the Freeport of Riga offer a range of services for vessels as long as 235 meters with breadth of 34 meters. The yards have three 30-thousand tons capacity floating docks and offer hull treatment by gritblasting, hydroblasting, and mechanical methods. They also apply marine and ice-resistant paints and clean and recoat ballast and cargo tanks. The Freeport of Riga's branch yard in Liepaja has supplemented these facilities since 2000 and can do any type of ship repair work, including repair of controllable-pitch propellers, shaft seals, rudder and steering gears, and bronze bushings.
The Freeport of Riga works closely with the city to plan and develop port and urban spaces to maintain a high quality of life and a world-class port operation. Urban decision-makers and the Freeport of Riga Authority are implementing a cooperative program to integrate city and port spaces and to maintain the port's competitive position. The Freeport of Riga Authority is currently conducting a detailed analysis of port facilities in the context of possible urban redevelopment to determine the maximum value-added of compatible urban and port redevelopments in the Freeport of Riga that will create jobs and tourist opportunities while supporting sustainable development and promoting the best possible lifestyle for the city's residents. The analysis will result in a set of recommendations for a successful mix of port and urban functions and a guide of good practices.