a Soviet shipping port on the Baltic Sea, at the mouth of the Daugava River, 12 km from the Gulf of Riga. It was established in 1201.
The port’s growth was facilitated by the building of the Russian railroad system between 1861 and 1889, which connected Riga with large markets and raw material sources. By the early 20th century the port was Russia’s leading export port by volume of trade. A customs harbor, the docks in Mīlgrāvis, the Andreevskaia Harbor, and a port elevator were built between 1875 and 1896. After World War I and during the period of the bourgeois regime in Latvia (1920–40), the freight traffic decreased.
Heavily damaged during the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), the port was rebuilt immediately after the war. By 1960 the port had been completely modernized and equipped with up-to-date loading machinery. By 1970 new docks, warehouses, industrial and general-service facilities, and a passenger arrival and departure terminal had been constructed. In 1974 the port handled more than 6 million tons of various kinds of cargo and was visited by more than 1,500 seagoing ships, some 600 of which were foreign ships flying the flags of 26 countries. The cargo includes general freight (paper, cement, cotton), bulk cargo (coal, chromium and copper ores), metals, and equipment.
Equipped with cranes capable of moving cargo weighing up to 100 tons, the port handles both container ships and ships with horizontal loading and unloading. Pilots, powerful tugboats, and motor transport are available around-the-clock. In 1974, 93 percent of the cargo was loaded by mechanical means. The seaport is Latvia’s main shipping port. It has a shipyard.
REFERENCESkolis, J. J., N. A. Zhikharev, and N. S. Khmelev. Rizhskii morskoi port. Riga, 1974.
V. V. PONIATOVSKII