Koper – A 100-metre extension to Quay I of the container terminal at the Koper port was inaugurated on Wednesday in what the port operator’s CEO said was a key strategic project that would allow Slovenia’s sole maritime port to preserve its leadership in container transshipment in the North Adriatic.
The first 150 metres of the shore of Quay I were built as early as 1979, with the latest being the fourth extension. In the four decades, nearly 12 million of container units were transshipped on the quay, two-thirds of which in the past ten years.
Addressing the ceremony, Luka Koper CEO Dimitrij Zadel noted the significance of the new belt of operative shore measuring 100 metres in length and 35 metres in width at the container terminal, the most strategic section of the port in which most resources are being invested.
The port is thus responding to global trends in containerisation of goods and to the arrival of ever larger ships to keep its position in major flows of goods.
Zadel said the latest extension of Quay I was just the beginning. Construction of nearly 25,000 sq metres of storage area on the quay is under way and once it is completed, expectedly early in 2022, the terminal’s capacity will increase to 1.5 million container units.
Two new Super-post-Panamax cranes are to arrive next year, and work is to start on the north side of the quay, which will cater for containers as well.
The CEO of the port operator noted it was necessary for the construction of the new rail track between Koper and Divača to be completed on time, considering that half of all containers that are put through Koper arrive by train. “Without the second track, it won’t be possible to fully tap on the potential of the expanded container terminal.”
Uroš Ilić, the chairman of the Luka Koper supervisory board, noted that the latest investment rounded off many others implemented over the past four years, including two new entrances to the port, a rail track extension, the construction of a third multi-storey car park and a new roll-on/roll-off berth at the car terminal.
The investments were part of the company’s ambitious strategy under which it will invest half a billion euro by the time the second track is completed to be able to fully capitalise from the increase in the capacity of rail transport.
“Luka Koper needs local, regional and national support to be able to be even more successful in the future. The region and the country need a modern port that brings prosperity to all citizens,” said Ilić.
Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec promised national support for the port’s development, pledging to do all in his power to secure broader, regional support. The construction of the second track is also an opportunity to build warehouses inland and for growth in Slovenia’s logistics industry.
Vrtovec expects Luke Koper to present even more ambitious decarbonisation plans, noting the opportunities of the EU’s Green Deal.