Oleg Ossinovski is the richest person in Estonia

The business daily Äripäev has named transport mogul Oleg Ossinovski as the richest person in Estonia, in its annual list of the 500 richest people in Estonia.

Ossinovski, whose son Jevgeni Ossinovski is a Social Democrat MP and who helped finance the 2011 campaign for the seat, saw his fortunes increase by 75 million euros to 297.9 million, Äripäev said today. Skinest Rail, owned by Ossinovski, had a excellent year, sells and repairs train rolling stock in the Baltics, Ukraine and Russia. Ossinovski also owns Spacecom AS, which leases railroad tanker cars.Oleg Ossinovski

Hillar Teder of food retailer O’Key Group, who had claimed the spot in the previous two years, is now second, with the daily lopping 55 million euros off its estimate of his worth to take him to a mere 295 million euros.

The rest of the top 10 were as follows:

3. Priit Piilmann, major shareholder in Viru Keemia Group – 211.2 million euros (132 million in 2012)

4. Armin Karu, major shareholder of Olympic Entertainment Group – 161.5 million euros (112.5 million)
5. Toomas Annus, chairman and major shareholder of Merko real estate developer – 143.1 million euros (133.8 million)
6. Margus Kangro, major shareholder in Viru Keemia Group – 132.1 million euros (104.4 million)
7. Fjodor Berman, owner and head of BLRT Group – 119 million euros (182.2 million)
8. Marcel Vichmann, owner of Edelaraudtee and GoBus – 117.5 million euros (107.1 million)
9. Sonny Aswani, managing director of the Tolaram Group in Estonia – 117.2 million euros (109.9 million)
10. Roman Stroykov, an industrial wholesaler – 115.1 million euros (89.5 million)

Source: ERR News

Maxima builds a huge logistics center

Retail chain Maxima is building one of Estonia’s largest logistics centers, taking up 45,000 square meters of space, and providing work for 350 people.

The purpose of the logistics center is to create a central storage complex, which will service all Maxima stores across Estonia. The total area of the center encompasses around 45,000 square meters, which will make it one of Estonia’s biggest logistics buildings.

Dry, cold and container storage areas will be built in the complex alongside with 130 docks to move goods. These platforms will service around 300 deliveries daily. The project is expected to cost around 30 million euros.

Work on the center began this week in Harju County and is planned for completion in December 2015.

Source: ERR News

Postal service fees to increase 18 pct in September

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication has approved a draft of regulations that will universally raise postal rates on September 1.

Ordinary letter postage sent to national addresses will rise from 0.45 euros to 0.55. The price increase applies to all universal postal services, which will raise 18.2% on average. Prices are also rising on both domestic and international letters and packages weighing up to 20 kilograms.

Eesti Post´s head of the Postal Services Division, Kaido Padar, said that the last change in pricing was in 2011, and rising costs mean that the company will not be able to meet its budget at the current rates by November.

“Over the years, customers’ needs have changed,” said Padar, whose company now goes by Omniva in its international transactions. “Expanded opportunities for communication has led to a decline in letter volumes in the service, but the requirements of the universal postal service has remained the same.”

Padar said that the volume of mail has declined steadily in recent years, roughly 10 percent each year. Six years ago Eesti Post handled 60 million pieces of mail a year. That has declined to roughly half that figure.

Another factor in the planned price increase is due to the rising wages of 2,000 employees over the last two years. Estonia will raise the national minimum wage rate at the beginning of 2015, which means that the company needs to raise additional money to meet their wage obligations.

In addition, Padar said international transportation costs have increase by 5-10 percent, and increase in the fees paid to other postal companies have gone up 3-5 percent per year.

The price increase will not affect the price of parcels delivered to terminals in malls and supermarkets, such as the Post24 package machines.

Source: ERR News

Tallinn Lisbon air connection opened

The first regular flight from Lisbon to Tallinn landed today, connecting Estonia to Portugal, with many South American and African destinations possible from there.

The flights, operated by Portuguese airline TAP, will take place three times each week and the route will be the longest regular route from Tallinn. The flights will last five hours and travel 3,314 kilometers.

TAP flies to 76 destinations in 34 countries and has a 71-strong fleet. It is expected to use Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft for the Tallinn flight.

Source: ERR News

Estonians love SUVs

In spite of the virtual recession, Estonians are buying more SUVs than in the boom times.

Among best-selling models, SUVs now take up four places out of five.

The top-selling SUV is Honda CR-V with 431 cars sold this year, followed by Toyota RAV4 (414 cars), Nissan Qashqai (242 cars), Skoda Octavia (202 cars, the only non-SUV in the top five), and Subaru Forester (188 cars).

Read more from BBN

Countries reached the agreement of Rail Baltic shareholders

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania reached the agreement of shareholders of the Rail Baltic railway connection joint venture at the working group meeting held in Tallinn today.

The shareholder’s agreement will require also an approval by the national governments of these states. Signing the shareholder’s agreement is expected to take place in August after the establishment in Latvia and Estonia of holding enterprises which will be shareholders of the joint venture.

According to Indrek Sirp, the Rail Baltic project manager, the negotiations were long and thorough and the final result is satisfactory for all parties. „I am particularly glad that the obstacles from the creation of the joint venture have been removed and we can continue with the actual starting of the activities of the joint venture, including submission of the application for financing to the European Commission by the end of January next year,“ he said.

It was agreed to build the railway according to similar technical standards from Tallinn to Poland through Pärnu, Riga, Panevežys and Kaunas. As this connection is eligible to receive EU support, the work will proceed in this direction as the first priority and the application for funding will be submitted for the sections on this line. Consensus was also reached on the inclusion of the Vilnius-Kaunas branch line in the project, to be implemented as soon as it becomes eligible for EU support.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland signed the memorandum of understanding on the creation of the Rail Baltic Joint Venture in September last year. According to the earlier agreement, the main office of the joint venture will be in Riga, and the railway in each Baltic State will remain in state ownership.

Rail Baltic will be a 1435 mm gauge (European gauge) modern and fast electric railway connection between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. As a broader corridor, Rail Baltic will connect both Scandinavia and Russia in the north with Western Europe on the other hand.

Source: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications

Baltics agree on joint venture for high speed rail connections

An important milestone on the way to high speed rail connections from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania’s rail system to the rest of Europe was reached today as working groups from the Baltics agreed on a draft shareholders’ agreement to form a joint venture for Rail Baltic.

The working groups met today in Tallinn; it was the 10th meeting. The Lithuanians had had the most stipulations, demanding that Vilnius, the national capital, also be connected to the line. Earlier this year, Estonia and Lithuania had been close to a diplomatic row over comments made by Estonia’s then economy minister regarding the Lithuanians’ unbending stance.

“We reached a common understanding and there are articles in the shareholders’ agreement that are a very important part, that Vilniius is a part of the Rail Baltic project,” said Lithuanian economic affairs ministry department head Arenijus Jackus on ETV.

Rail Baltic Estonia project manager Indrek Sirp said the Vilnius connection can start to be developed when EU financing is in place. Currently it isn’t.

“It was also agreed that [the Vilnius connection] can’t slow down the wortk on the main line, which is via Kaunas toward Poland,” said Sirp on ETV.

The Baltics, along with Poland and Finland, signed the memorandum of intent for the joint venture last September.

The joint venture will be headquartered in Riga, while each national segment of the railway will remain property of the respective state.

Source: ERR News

Estonian company fined for transporting illegals

Estonian road carrier AMK Grupp that has two trailer trucks was recently forced to pay 3,300 euros when its Estonian truck driver in September discovered three illegal aliens in its tent trailer, writes Postimees.

Although the truck driver promptly informed local authorities in Calais in France, the case was handled by British authorities who fined the company 3,300 euros, claiming that the company had not implemented proper measures to avoid illegal aliens entering the truck.

Read more from BBN

Viking Line to add two trips on Helsinki-Tallinn route

The Finnish passenger ferry operator Viking Line will increase the number of trips between Tallinn and Helsinki by two starting from Thursday.

The new timetable will be in effect until the end of August.

Tallinn- Helsinki route is also operated by Tallink, Eckeroline and Lindaline ferries and catamaranes.

Read more from Viking Line website


Tallink’s board member makes average 23,600 euros per month

Estonian listed ferry operator Tallink paid 1.7m euros in management board fees last year, which is 300,000 euros more than in 2012.

Read more from BBN


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