Traffic through the Port of Koper is growing along with the motor industry in the former Eastern Europe. Koper car terminal director Andrej AndrijaniÄ tells Automotive Purchasing News that the harbour offers the benefits of geographic location, space and terminal infrastructure, short sea and inland transportation lead times, its quality of services and safety, as well as value-added services.
AndrijaniÄ The geographical location of The Port of Koper, at the very end of Adriatic Sea, is in fact an ideal point for serving the Central, Eastern and parts of Western European markets, Balkan markets as well as the Mediterranean markets. The inland distances to various locations in Central and Eastern Europe are shorter compared to North European and Italian ports thus providing shorter lead times for the vehicles being transported to the final customer.
Automotive Purchasing News (APN): How much space is available in the port, and what infrastructure is there?
AndrijaniÄ: The Car terminal is at present capable to offer storage for over 40 000 units at a time, making it one of the largest car terminals in Mediterranean. There are car terminal five births and 4 RO-RO ramps. The total length of the operative quay is in excess of 500 meters. With a sea depth of -12 meters, it can cater for the largest pure car carrier vessels. A parking garage for about 3.500 units is also available. The whole terminal is connected by internal railway system, so every part of the terminal has direct excess to the railway. This means that loading and unloading operations can be carried out on various parts of the terminal, so reducing the driving distances for vehicles.
In order to further expand and facilitate the needs of our customers an expansion plan for the car terminal is being implemented with construction works already under way. The main aim is to add new high quality areas and to consolidate it in one compact unit enabling it to optimise the operations. The future capacity of the car terminal will rise to a storage area in excess of 70 000 units.
APN: What are the sea and inland transportation linkages and lead times?
AndrijaniÄ: One can say that the port is only as good as its connections with the rest of the world. This also holds true for the Port of Koper. The traffic through the Port of Koper car terminal is in both import and export directions. All major shipping lines call on Koper on a regular basis, thus providing a frequent and reliable service from Far East and also serving all Mediterranean destinations. Together with various inland transportation partners, the port of Koper is offering excellent and reliable railway and road connections to multiple destinations in Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans and parts of Western Europe. The final kilometres of a new highway to Koper will be completed by the end of the year with special exit directly to the Port of Koper, thus further reducing the lead times to final destinations.
APN: What are your service and quality records?
AndrijaniÄ: We see the quality, reliability and flexibility of our services as our major advantages. However, these attributes can only be achieved by systematic training and development of skilled labour, which is carrying out by the company. We have developed an in-house training system with the main aim to select the best working force on the market. All the operations in the car terminal are supported by an IT system using the wireless laser-scanning technology in the field.
In terms of productivity, the port of Koper Car terminal is open for business practically 365 days per year 24 hours per day, so the work on the terminal basically never stops. The port of Koper is fully complying with the ISPS safety code. The whole area is fenced, lighted and under 24h video surveillance. The recent joining to the EU has further reduced administrative barriers, making The Port of Koper even more competitive. By constant investments and improvements into our infrastructure, IT support system, and labour development training we see a strong and stable future growth ahead of us.
APN: What value-added services to you offer?
AndrijaniÄ: Through our daughter company, Avtoservis d.o.o., we provide a full range of technical services such as PDI , deconsolidation, consolidation, waxing, the mounting of accessories and a fully equipped repair shop. So any wish of the customer can be satisfied.
APN: What companies are using Koper?
AndrijaniÄ: We are proud of the fact that we are handling vehicles for almost all major automobile concerns, such as the VW Group, Renault, Toyota, Ford, GM-Chevrolet, Hyundai , KIA, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Honda, FIAT, Subaru, Mazda, Chrysler and others.
It is also important to stress that all the major shipping lines, such as Grimaldi and Neptune in Short sea shipping and EUKOR, HUAL, Vallenius Wilhelmsen, NYK, K-line, Mitsui and others in Deep sea shipping are calling Koper on regular basis.
The Port of Koper Car terminal handled in the year 2002 130 000 export units, in 2003 200 000 export units, and our target for 2004 is 320 000 export units plus 20 000 transhipment units. We see the markets that are being supplied trough the Port of Koper Car terminal still have a lot of growth potential, therefore we are very confident to see stable growth of throughput in the future and are making sure that Luka Koper Car terminal will be more than ready to handle it.