Growing the adriatic

Situated in an advantageous location within the northern part of the Adriatic Sea, the Port of Koper lies on 280 hectares of land that incorporates 12 highly specialised terminals within the Obalno-Kraska (Coastal-Karst) region. The port operates as a relatively young marine logistical hub that was first established in 1957, with the Gorica representing the first transoceanic ship to arrive and moor at the Port of Koper during the following year. Despite the small size of the Obalno-Kraska region, the area represents one of Slovenia’s most highly-developed economic zones with the Port of Koper making a significant contribution to the zone’s development. The terminal is presently overseen by Luka Koper d.d., which acts as a public limited company that operates as the sole authority of the port and therefore works to ensure that Obalno-Kraska retains a strong economic position.

Luka Koper was previously profiled by Shipping & Marine in August 2016, during which time the President of the company, Mr. Dragomir Matic discussed the leading position of the Port of Koper as a specialist cargo terminal, as well as the firm’s on-going investment into the port and its facilities. Indeed, Luka Koper initiated the beginning of an important investment cycle during 2015, which is presently valued at circa €300 million and is scheduled for completion by 2020 – with around €235 million in funds to be allocated to the port’s container terminal alone.

During the subsequent months, the team at Luka Koper has continued to implement its ambitious development plan through the construction of new port infrastructure and the acquisition of additional terminal equipment. Throughout 2016 the company constructed two new railway tracks at the port’s container terminal and also made extensions to three previously existing lines. This was supported by the development of additional stacking areas for the storage of both full and empty cargo containers. Seven new electric rubber-tyred gantry cranes (E-RTG) for yard operations also became operational during late 2016 and are intended to ensure more efficient handling solutions throughout the cargo yard, as well as reduced gas and noise emissions across the facility.

“The first part of the company’s substantial investment into its container facilities was completed in February 2017, through the final commissioning of the rails for two rail-mounted gantry (RMG) cranes. These new cranes will significantly contribute to further increasing the productivity at the container terminal, where operations will now proceed much faster than was possible while using the port’s previous lifting equipment,” elaborates Andrej Cah, Sales and Marketing Director. “The new cranes will also enable the loading and unloading of containers across five trainsets simultaneously. These investments follow on from earlier developments undertaken over the last two years, which are all aimed at increasing the annual capacity of the container terminal to 1.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) by 2020.”

In April 2017, the Luka Koper Container Terminal further accepted the delivery of two super post-Panamax container cranes, thus ensuring that the port is able to cater to the largest cargo vessels currently operating within the market. The new units will allow crane operators to lift containers to a height of 48 metres above the ground, which amounts to a lifting capability that is equivalent to four containers higher than with existing cranes. The new cranes also incorporate an extended outreach of some 65 metres, which will enable cargo handling across vessels of up to 24 containers in width. “The advantages of the new cranes will become even more apparent as soon as the quayside of the port’s first pier is extended by an additional 100 metres, with the construction works expected to start within 2018,” Andrej adds. “During December 2016, we also concluded the construction of three shore tanks for fuels and started the construction of a multipurpose warehouse, which is optimised for handling and storing heavier general cargoes such as metal plates and coils, as well as various dry bulks.”

Further to the terminal’s extensive cargo operations, the Port of Koper also represents an important Ro-Ro hub for both travel and freight traffic. As part of its on-going development of the port, Luka Koper has further strengthened its capacity for vehicle handling through the development of new parking areas and additional railway tracks as well as a new dedicated berth for car carriers. “As car volumes continue to grow, we continue to establish new parking areas at various locations around the port and in March 2017 we further approved the construction of a garage to hold 6000 cars, which will be located close to an existing garage with 8000 parking lots,” Andrej says. “The construction of this building is expected to be completed by mid-2018 and will increase the annual car throughput at the port by 162,000 units. The total throughput of cars in 2016 was 749,384 units, making Koper the second largest port for cars in the Mediterranean.”

Across all of its investment operations, Luka Koper is heavily committed to increasing its productivity, lowering internal transport costs and optimising resources, while continuing to ensure high levels of service for the port’s users. This will enable to company to fully address the growing logistical demands across the Adriatic, while also maintaining the economic growth of the Obalno-Kraska region. “The transport route via the North Adriatic is gaining in importance, with all ports in the area registering climbing transit figures in recent years. The reason for this is that cargo is increasingly being shifted away from North European ports and the Adriatic is an excellent alternative,” Andrej concludes. “The benefits of a shorter transport route and consequential lower transport and cargo inventory stock costs are becoming evident to operators in the region. We want to remain as the premier port for containers within the Adriatic and to achieve this we will continue to invest in new capacities and equipment.”

Luka Koper d.d.
Slovenia’s only multi-purpose sea port
Luka Koper works as operator/port authority
On-going investment into facilities and equipment