Rijeka Port to Become Largest in Northern Adriatic Sea in Few Years?

By 9 November 2021

November the 9th, 2021 - Rijeka Port signed a very significant contract recently, and it seems that this Northern Adriatic port could become the largest and indeed one of the most important in this part of Europe in a relatively short period of time.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, by signing a 50-year concession agreement for the Rijeka Gateway, APM Terminals and ENNA have formally entered the project of designing, building and operating a new container terminal in Rijeka Port, ENNA said, stating that it is a joint investment of two companies on the Croatian side of the Northern Adriatic.

The estimated value of the concession on the 400-metre coastline stands at about 20.5 billion kuna, and the concessionaire's obligation in the first two years is to realise a container turnover of two million TEU units (equivalent to a twenty-foot container).

Two million kuna is a permanent part of the concession fee, a variable part of 4 or 6 percent of the gross annual revenue of the terminal, and the concessionaire will need to procure and install equipment at the terminal, and in the second phase build an extension of another 280 metres of coastal wall.

The third phase is optional, ie if all of the necessary conditions are met, another 320 metres of coastal wall will be built. The new terminal will be equipped with three ship-shore cranes, and at the end of the second phase with a total of four cranes, currently the largest available on the market, and the Rijeka Gateway will therefore be able to accommodate vessels up to 24,000 TEU.

The total investment is estimated at around 250 million euros, or in the first phase at around 100 million euros. The concessionaire is their joint company: Rijeka Gateway d.o.o. based in Vukovar. It was established by a partnership agreement with 51 and 49 percent membership shares by members of the consortium APM Terminals and ENNA Logic, a component of the wider ENNA Group, which is one of the fastest growing Croatian companies at this moment in time.

The offer of this consortium was selected back in June at an international public tender, while the conclusion of the concession agreement starts the realisation of the project, which means the long-awaited upcoming, rapid development of the Rijeka traffic route.

This means the expansion of intermodal transport, new direct employment - in the first phase about 400 jobs with more to come, concluding with the goal of positioning Rijeka Port on the logistics map.

According to the director of Rijeka Port, Denis Vukorepa, the co-signatory of the contract by the concession grantor, on January the 1st, 2024 the terminal will be operational, and after the completion of the second phase of the ''Zagreb coast'' project, including the activities of Jadranska vrata, Rijeka Port will be the largest container port in the Northern Adriatic with about 1.5 million TEU units (500,000 TEU refers to the Adriatic Gate).

The total turnover of Rijeka Port in 2021 will be, he says, at about 360,000 TEU, or about 5 percent when compared to 2020.

For APM terminals, the world container shipping company A.P. Moller - Maersk, which operates about 80 terminals in the world, the development of a new terminal in Rijeka is in line with their strategy "Safer, better, bigger". According to Morten Engelstoft, CEO of APM Terminals, the investor recognised the growing need for efficient, well-managed and modern terminals that serve as entry points to local and regional markets, bringing container goods closer to end consumers.

Therefore, they're convinced that the Rijeka Gateway, with a good location in Rijeka and a strong connection with the hinterland, will become an important point on the map of port logistics in Croatia, but also in the wider Central European region.

The same belief is shared by Pavao Vujnovac, President of the Management Board of ENNA Group, who believes that this joint investment project in the Zagreb coast (the Rijeka Gateway) will become the basis for growth and sustainability of port operations and logistics sector for Rijeka and the Republic of Croatia as a whole.

According to Vujnovac, the Rijeka Gateway and modernisation of railway infrastructure is the largest Croatian national project that will connect Rijeka Port with continental Croatia and other Central European countries, facilitating business opportunities and rapid economic growth not only in logistics but in all services and industries.

According to PM Andrej Plenkovic, this concession agreement creates the preconditions for Rijeka to take a leading role in cargo transhipment in the Northern Adriatic and become the most important sea exit for Central and Southeast Europe.

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