Latvijas Kuģniecība


  • 900

    Ancient sailing began to flourish during the Viking Age (800 – 1060). Swedish and Danish Vikings set out on their raids and trading operations from the Baltic Sea to the rivers Daugava and Dnepr reaching the Black Sea, and from there – Constantinople: From the Varangians to the Greek.

  • 1200

    Until the 13th century ships in the Baltic Sea were 10-25 meters long, approximately 5 meters wide with a sea-gauge of 1-2 meters. They had a mast with a sail and used a steering oar. The Latvian word for ship (kuģis) also first appeared in the 13th century, stemming from the Germanic word “kugg”, meaning bent or curved.

  • 1642

    During the reign of Duke Jacob in Courland (1642 – 1682) ships were being actively built and ports – upgraded. There were 6 shipyards in operation and 40 warships and 80 trading vessels were built altogether, 27 of which were sold to France and 6 – to Great Britain.

  • 1825

    Founder of the first Latvian Nautical School – Krišjānis Valdemārs was born in the parish of Ārlava, on a farm Vecjunkuri.

  • 1830

    First attempts to use iron ships with steam engines as sea transport. In 1832, a company called Vērmanis & Son Iron Foundry, Engineering and Shipbuilding was founded in Latvia. A company called Lange & Son became the largest manufacturer of iron ships in Latvia.

  • 1855

    During this year more than 2000 ships entered port Riga, and 9 steamers and 37 sailing ships were registered there.



  • 1864

    The first nautical school where studies were held in Latvian was opened in Ainaži. Soon afterwards 9 more such schools were founded (also called Valdemāra schools – democratic, no tuition fees, no bias). By the end of the century Latvia had more than 3000 certified sea captains and navigators. The craft of sailing was considered prestigious.

  • 1869

    Ship and machine-building plant Lange un dēls is founded that in time became the biggest iron shipbuilding factory in Latvia.

  • 1903

    Soon after the turn of the century there were 40 steamers registered in Latvian ports. 24 of them in Riga, 9 – in Ventspils and 7 – in Liepaja. The most common destinations were Russia, Great Britain, Asia, Africa. There was a regular passenger line Liepaja – New York.

  • 1914

    By the beginning of World War I, 333 ships were registered in Latvian ports – 59 steamers, 274 sailing vessels and motorized sailing vessels. Unfortunately the war did not leave the sailing industry of Latvia unscathed.

  • 1918

    The first ship to sail under the red, white and red flag of Latvia after the proclamation of the republic was steamer Maiga, the second such vessel was steamer Saratov, on which the provisional government of Latvia returned to Riga.

  • 1939

    Shortly before the World War II Latvian trading fleet consisted of 103 vessels – 89 steamers, 2 motor ships, 5 motorized sailing vessels and 7 sailing vessels. Fleet capacity per one hundred thousand population was slightly less than that of Great Britain or Norway, but larger than in France or Italy and considerably larger than in Spain or Portugal.

  • 1940

    29 October 1940 is considered to be the company’s founding date, when the Latvian National Naval Shipping Company was established by USSR Council of People’s Commissars Decree No.2132. The company had 54 vessels, several ports including those in Riga, Liepaja, Ventspils and Sventaja, as well as dockyards. With the invasion of German military the shipping company was forced to cease all activities and when its functions were finally restored in 1944 it had only 8 ships left.

  • 1944

    Restoration of the Latvian National Naval Shipping Company begins. It’s first vessel is the tug Cerība (hope). Many ships are being renamed. Everlonda becomes Jānis Rainis, Džonītis becomes Daugavpils, Džons becomes Partizāns and Leonīds becomes Sarkanarmietis.

  • 1958

    J. Avots takes office as director of Latvian Shipping Company. That is when a serious restoration of the fleet really sets in – the first newly commissioned steamers and motor ships are received, the first ice class vessels are purchased, and routes are being expanded.

  • 1961

    As the company grows, it also begins to specialize. A significant role in this belongs to the oil depot of the port of Ventspils, which started operating in 1961. By the same token, later on, the development of the company was helped by potassium transhipment terminal, which was put in operation in 1980. The fleet gradually acquires tankers, gas tankers, and refrigerator ships, and, as a consequence of a new container terminal built in Riga – container ships.

  • 1980

    From 1976 to 1987 the company was run by V. Dircenko and during his time as director the total number of vessels once again reached 100 units. 90% of all shipments were oil and oil products, chemicals and liquefied gas. Latvia also had the largest fleet of refrigerator ships in USSR at that time. From 1987 to 1991 the company’s director was J. Paderovs.

  • 1989

    At the end of the 80’s, a third of all the ships in Latvian SSR fleet were less than 5 years old. Total fleet tonnage exceeded one million tones and every year the ships visited 140 ports in 50 countries.

  • 1991

    As Latvia regained its independence, JSC Latvian Shipping Company started a new life as a state-owned enterprise – 29 August 1991 is considered to be the 2nd birthday of the company. The company takes over 87 motor ships, mostly for transportation of oil and chemicals, from the Trade fleet of the former USSR. Peteris Avotins takes office as director.

  • 1996

    The company gains a new status – that of a state-owned joint-stock company subject to privatisation. Andris Klavins takes office as president in 1998.

  • 2001

    At the dawn of the new millennium JSC Latvian Shipping Company owns 49 vessels with an average age of 19 years. It is obvious that the fleet is over-aged and that many new modern vessels will have to be purchased soon.

  • 2002

    On 5 June 2002, the company turns into a public joint-stock company. On 26 June JSC Ventspils nafta bought 49.94% of the JSC Latvian Shipping Company equity capital in an auction of shares in the Riga Stock Exchange.  A long-term business strategy is being developed; renovation of the fleet becomes the main priority. 

  • 2004

    A purposeful renovation of the fleet begins. Three almost new tankers are purchased in one year, and agreements are signed with Croatian and Korean shipyards regarding the construction of 14 medium-sized tankers. The commissioned modern double hull vessels will be received between 2006 and 2008.

  • 2007

    According to the long-term business strategy of JSC Latvian Shipping Company new agreements are signed with a Korean shipbuilding factory regarding the construction of another four medium-sized tankers.

  • 2008

    The first stage of the company’s fleet renovation program was successfully completed – the fleet received fourteen new tankers.

  • 2010

    Largest part of the fleet of JSC Latvian Shipping Company is younger than 3 years – the average age of the fleet is five years and all vessels comply completely with modern standards. The company’s biggest challenge now is the historically lowest charter rates caused by drop in demand for petroleum products due to the global economic recession and increase of the new tankers.

  • 2011

    During 2011 the JSC Latvian Shipping Company took delivery of two new build tankers ordered from the Korean shipbuilding factory Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co. Ltd. In 2007 –  Latgale and Zemgale. On 15 November Mr. Paul Thomas handed over management of the company to Mr. Simon Blaydes.

  • 2012

    On 23 March the JSC Latvian Shipping Company published chartering rates of its ships for the first time to inform investors, media and other interested parties. The company has undertaken in future to update this information on a quarterly basis, thus ensuring transparency of the company’s operation. 

  • 2013

    Roberts Kirkups begins his work as the Chairman of the Council of AS ‘Latvijas kuģniecība’.

  • 2014

    Roberts Kirkups is appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of AS ‘Latvijas kuģniecība’. LK receives the top NASDAQ OMX prize for the fastest improvements in investor relations. Vladimirs Egers takes his position as the Chairman of the Council of AS ‘Latvijas kuģniecība’.

  • 2015

    Working on modernising the ‘Latvijas kuģniecība’ fleet, USD 3.6 million are invested to renovate eight tankers at the Riga Shipyard, performing their technical repairs, paint work and installing new satellite equipment. This is the first year the company participates in the Sustainability Index and receives the silver award. With the support of ‘Latvijas kuģniecība’, the Latvian Maritime Academy opens its Navigation Studies laboratory and high-voltage simulator, and grants scholarships.

  • 2016

    SIA LSC Shipmanagement expanded the fleet under its technical supervision with three newly-built ships for transporting petroleum and chemicals — the tankers Elandra Spruce, Elandra Palm and Elandra Oak. The tradition of paying compliments to long-time and retired employees of the company is started. In the Sustainability Index, LK wins a gold award, receiving the ‘Family-friendly company’ status. Mikkjal Poulsen becomes the new Chairman of the Management Board of SIA LSC  Shipmanagement.

  • 2017

    The crew of USMA wins the traditional trophy of the Port of Quebec. ‘Latvijas kuģniecība’ wins the 1st place in the category ‘Best Interactive Investor Relations’ of the Nasdaq Baltic Market Awards, as well as the 3rd place in the ‘Most Visible Improvement Over Three Years’ category.