The Slovenia Times

Port of Koper business and competitive advantage depend on railway efficiency among other



What were the EBIT and ROE values in 2018? Were they higher than in 2017 and what could you attribute this to?

In 2018, the Port of Koper Group's EBIT amounted to EUR 70 million, which is 90 % or EUR 33 million more than in 2017. Without taking into account the one-off event in which we received a compensation of EUR 9.6 million and without taking into account the provisions for liabilities arising from legal obligations from 207, which amounted to EUR 15.7 million, EIBT increased by 15 % or EUR 8 million in 2018 in real terms when compared to 2017. The net ROE was 16.1 % in 2018.

The trend of growing container and vehicle transhipment volumes continued in 2018. What were the numbers like last year and which markets dominate the two categories?

In 2018, 24 million tonnes of goods were transhipped, which is 3 % more than in 2017, representing the record annual throughput in the history of the port. The highest-ever monthly throughput was recorded in March 2018, amounting to 2.3 million tonnes of goods. Excellent results and record throughputs at the Port of Koper last year were reported in both key categories of goods, namely containers and cars. The throughput of TEU containers increased by 8 % or 988,000, and the throughput of cars by 3 % or 754,000. In terms of containers, we still hold the primacy in the Adriatic Sea, and we have one of the largest terminals in the entire Mediterranean.

Our key landlocked markets are the countries of Central Europe, primarily Austria which accounts for a third of our annual throughput. It is followed by Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany. In the Far East, our key markets include China, South Korea and Japan. Traditionally, we are also bound to the Mediterranean markets.

The plans for the Port of Koper also foresee the construction of a third pier, which would provide two or three additional berths for RORO ships. The price for the construction of the accompanying railway tracks (3.4 kilometres total) is EUR 12 million, 30 % of which shall be financed by the EU. When will the pier be finished and what is its significance for the Port of Koper business?

It is not a third pier per se, but an expansion of the multi-purpose terminal already in existence that will provide additional berths. The berth site and group of railway tracks, which will connect the coast to the railway network, are scheduled to commence operation in the first quarter next year. What this means for the Port of Koper is the optimisation of port logistics, as the area will be linked with a new cargo entrance which we are currently finishing and which will commence operation in April this year. Due to the overcrowded storage and handling facilities, an internal optimisation of traffic and logistics is more than welcome.

You are also planning on building a new multi-storey car park this year. What is the value of this investment and the extent of the planned construction? What would you say the main motive behind its construction is?

The multi-storey car park is part of a larger project aimed at increasing the capacities of the car transhipment terminal, which also foresees a construction of the new berth for RORO ships in the third pool, the construction of new railway tracks beside the pool and the acquisition of additional land lots for the storage of cars. All this will contribute to a more efficient operation and increase the transhipment of vehicles. It is estimated that the new multi-storey car park and other measures relating to the storage of vehicles will make it possible to increase the throughput by 162,000 cars annually.

Are there any projects planned in the upcoming years that would require a foreign investor?

In accordance with the Concession Contract, only one concessionary may invest in the port infrastructure, and that is the Port of Koper. Nevertheless, this does not mean that we are not open to other forms of cooperation in the event of commercial interest.

What competitive advantage does the Port of Koper hold over the neighbouring ports?

The most notable difference between us and our neighbouring ports is the organisation of business itself. Koper is the only port in the region without a port administration. This enables a greater flexibility and synergic effects in the port, managed by a single entity (compared to other ports, which are divided among private terminal managers), and makes it possible to faster adapt to the demands and wishes of the clients. The business of the Port of Koper and its competitive advantage in relation to other ports also depend on the efficiency of the railway. After all, the Port of Koper has one of the highest railway transhipment percentages in Europe, despite the fact that it only has a single track connecting it to the railway network. To compare, Koper tranships approximately 24,000 trains annually, which is three times as much as the neighbouring Trieste. However, we are not fond of competitive discourse with our neighbouring ports, as it is in our best interest that the entire region develops together, becoming a viable alternative to the ports in Northern Europe.

On 24 January, The Slovenian Government has approved the investment programme for the construction of the Divača-Koper second track, which should be constructed by 2025. In what ways will the construction of the second track affect the business of the Port of Koper? Which numbers do you reckon will change the most?

Koper is a transit port and around 60 % of the cargo is transhipped by trains. This means that our business depends highly on an efficient railway link. According to our development plans, the transhipments will increase in the port, thus we need additional railway capacities. When we were accepting the new business strategy in 2015, we speculated that we would tranship around 35 million tonnes of goods by 2030. We are currently developing a new strategy, which will be adapted in line with the plans for the construction of the second track.

Once the second track is completed, are you planning any infrastructure or market expansions?

The Port of Koper Group is planning investments totalling to EUR 71.7 million. In addition to the new group of tracks, berths for RORO ships, multi-storey car park and the new lorry entrance into the port, another key project is the expansion of the first pier and, consequently, extension of the container terminal coastline. All these investments foreseen in our strategic business plan are aimed at increasing the port's capacities. This will enable a larger transhipment of goods, a faster turnover of goods, an improved efficiency of the port operations and a higher competitiveness of the port.


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