Positive pulse

A relatively young port that was established in 1957, Port of Koper lies on 280 hectares of land and utilises 12 specialised terminals in the Obalno-Kraska (Coastal-Karst) region; though small in size, this area of Slovenia is among the most developed in terms of economic conditions. Leaving an impact on the development of the Obalno-Kraska region is Luka Koper, a public limited company that operates as the operator/authority of the port and thus provides the region with a positive and dynamic economic pulse.

“Luka Koper, port and logistic system, d.d., is a public limited company that develops and manages the Port of Koper, the only Slovenian seaport of high strategic interest. We operate all 12 specialised terminals in the port and handle all types of cargo, such as containers, cars and Ro-Ro, various general cargo products, dry bulk, liquid bulk and passengers. Our main advantage is our organisation; Luka Koper is acting both as a terminal operator and as port authority and because we are managing operations on all 12 terminals in the port area, this brings us many synergic effects. The result of this is a higher level of flexibility and reliability when it comes to port services,” begins Mr Dragomir Matic, President of Luka Koper.

Because it is multi-purpose, Port of Koper offers services to a broad spectrum of cargo groups, however, its core business comes from handling, storage and offering of complete logistics and transport services, either directly or through its partners. Recognised as the largest container port in the North Adriatic, the port handles an annual cargo of 20 million tonnes.

Not only benefiting from the diversity of its operations, Port of Koper is also the Northern most Adriatic port, which provides the shortest and cheapest inland transport route between Koper and all of the key central and Eastern European markets. “The Port of Koper has a strategic geographic position in the North Adriatic region and therefore important opportunities for servicing its central European markets,” explains Dragomir. “It represents the shortest link from the Far East via Suez to Europe, with a distance that is approximately 2000 nautical miles shorter when compared to other North European ports; this consequently enables a shorter transit time of around five days. The advantage of this is the optimisation of the whole supply chain, making it more efficient and lean, with substantial cost and time savings for the customer.”

Previously featured in Shipping & Marine magazine in October 2011, the Port of Koper has undergone a series of investments over the last five years; this includes completing the dredging of the port basin along the container terminal quayside, which now reaches a sea depth of 15 metres. “This investment means we are now able to berth larger and fully loaded vessels,” says Dragomir. “Additionally, we have increased the container terminal stacking areas for both full and empty containers and added five new terminal railway sidings, each of which is 750 metres in length. Furthermore, new handling equipment has been ordered or already purchased and, in the last few months, we have increased our finished vehicles storage capacity and improved our conventional cargo handling facilities. By the final quarter of 2016, we shall also complete the construction of three new tanks for jet fuel storage.”

No stranger to investment, Luka Koper began an important investment cycle worth 300 million euros in 2015, which is due for completion by 2020. “We are aware of the market potential of the port and must adapt to our customers increasingly demanding requirements. Around 235 million euros will be allocated into the container terminal alone; we have also ordered new super post panamax shore-to-ship gantry cranes, which will be able to handle containers on vessels of up to 20,000 TEUs capacity; the expected delivery of these cranes is the final quarter of 2017,” says Dragomir.

On top of this, Luka Koper aims to invest in finished vehicle handling facilities, new parking areas and additional railway tracks on the car terminals and a new dedicated berth for car-carriers. “In the next two years, we also plan to construct a multi-purpose warehouse on Pier II, which will be used for storing general cargoes and dry bulk cargoes. A new entrance to the port should also be constructed to alleviate the traffic at the existing gates,” adds Dragomir.

By continuously investing in port infrastructure and equipment the company has been able to increase the overall capacities of the port year-on-year; a trend it hopes to continue in the future, as Dragomir comments: “The total throughput of the port Koperin 2015 was 20.7 million tonnes, including 790,000 TEU and 607,000 car units; these numbers make the Port of Koper the largest container terminal in the Adriatic and one of the largest car terminals in the Mediterranean. For containers, we plan to increase the current annual capacity of 950,00 TEU to 1.3 million TEU by 2020.”

With a busy period of investment ahead, the Port of Koper is certain to go from strength to strength over the coming years as it continues to listen to and respond to the evolving demands of its diverse customer base. “Our vision is clear, we would like to become a leading port operator and global logistics solutions provider for the countries of central and Eastern Europe,” concludes Dragomir.

Luka Koper/Port of Koper

Slovenia’s only multi-purpose sea port
Luka Koper works as operator/port authority
Due to begin significant expansion and investment programme