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Automotive Industries speaks to Andrej Andrijanic, Director of the Luka Koper Car Terminal

Slovenia’s Port of Koper, is located in a strategic location, bang in the heart of Europe. It lies in the center of international trade routes and offers the shortest route between Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean and Asian countries – the sea routes to these countries are 2000 nautical miles closer than other northern European ports. Similarly, land routes from the Port of Koper cut transportation times by 24 hours, thanks to its location. Which means that a number of logistics companies, especially automotive firms, find the Port of Koper an attractive thoroughfare.

The Port of Koper is also part of the European project Motorways of the sea (MOS) – a part of the Trans-European Network for Transport (TEN-T). These projects will develop the motorways of the sea on 4 corridors of European maritime interest: Baltic, Western, Southeastern and Southwestern regions. The Port of Koper represents a very important point in Mediterranean serving central and eastern European countries as well as a part of Western Europe and the Balkans. In terms of Motorways of the sea projects, the Port of Koper is interested to be included in projects of Southeastern and Southwestern Europe. The advantage of the Luka Koper – the company that operates terminals and simultaneously acts in a role of the Port Authority – is the fact that it has experience in dealing with more than 50 international sea logistics companies that do business from its base and is well connected to the hinterland markets. These are Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Poland, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia.

Luka Koper is a multi-purpose port with the status of an EU entry point for goods designated for the European Union (BIP border inspection post). The port encompasses 11 terminals: Container and Ro-Ro Terminal, Car Terminal, General Cargo Terminal, Fruit Terminal, Timber Terminal, Terminal for Minerals, Terminal for Cereals and Fodder, Alumina Terminal, European Energy Terminal, Liquid Cargoes Terminal, and Livestock Terminal.

Luka Koper has the ISO 9001 quality certificate and the ISO 14001 environmental certificate for the entire system of port services. In addition, in 2005 it achieved outstanding evaluation according to the EFQM model. With Slovenia being a member state of the European Union, reduced administrative barriers make the port even more attractive. Luka Koper has constantly invested in infrastructure and information technology to keep the port up-to-date in terms of facilities.

Also in the port’s favor is the fact that all the major shipping lines are calling Koper and have their appointed agents or their offices in Koper. Around 450 wagons arrive and depart from the Port of Koper on a daily basis. Approximately 60 – 70% of the goods headed to or from the port are transported by train. A second railway track on the Divaca – Koper route, will be completed in the next decade in line with Slovenia’s program of railway infrastructure development. Slovenia expects that the amount of cargo shipped through Luka Koper will go up to 20 million tons in 2020 compared to 13 million tons from 2005.
The Car Terminal activities

To meet the future growth of the throughput Luka Koper is undertaking a construction of a third pier which will house a new container and RO-RO terminal. The project will increase the port’s storage capacity by 500,000 TEU initially, and reached 1,000,000 TEU as the project is completed.

To focus on the Luka Koper Car Terminal, let us mention its current storage capacity of 40,000 vehicles at one time, which makes it one of the largest car terminals in the region. The Car Terminal has five berths and 4 roll on-roll off ramps. With 500 m of operative shore it can cater to the largest car carrier vessels. The Terminal has a parking garage for 3,500 vehicles and is planning to build new garages. Since the whole port is connected by an internal railway system of 35 km loading and unloading operations can be carried out at various points in the terminal, with 6 railway ramps and various options for movable ramps. Luka Koper complies with the ISPS safety code, the whole area is fenced, lighted and under 24-hour video surveillance.

Luka Koper is doubling its capacity at the Car terminal to increase the storage capacity to 70,000 vehicles at one time. Automotive companies like Volkswagen, Renault, Toyota, Ford, GM-Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Honda, Fiat, Subaru, Mazda, Chrysler, and others, use services provided by Luka Koper Car Terminal. The Terminal has frequent and reliable Short Sea Shipping connections to Mediterranean Countries: Turkey, Greece, Israel, Syria, Algeria, Cyprus, Libya, Malta, Tunisia, Lebanon, Albania; as well as regular Deep Sea Shipping connections to the Far East.

Our daughter company Avtoservis d.o.o. located on the Car Terminal also offers add-on services such as dewaxing and waxing of vehicles, PDI zero repair service, mechanical and body repair and painting services and additional equipment if the customer requires or requests it. In terms of productivity, Luka Koper Car Terminal is open for business practically 365 days per year 24 hours per day, so the work on the terminal never stops. Also, for the last 20 years and more there has been no strike in the port.

Slovenia’s automotive industry is worth around US$ 1 billion with exports of US$ 800 million. So for the port, automotive clients are an important segment. Automotive Industries spoke to Andrej Andrijanic, Director of the Luka Koper Car Terminal and asked how the port is helping build up Slovenia’s automotive industry and facilitate the automotive logistics flows, in particular.

AI: What kind of synergy does Luka Koper Car Terminal and the Automotive Cluster of Slovenia enjoy?

Luka Koper Car Terminal acts as a logistics supporter of automotive industry in Slovenia in terms of port operations and various customized logistics solutions. We cooperate with the Automotive Cluster of Slovenia foremost by offering convenient logistic solutions for finished vehicles.

AI: What role do you see the port and the Car Terminal playing in the development of Slovenia’s automotive industry?

Let me first emphasize that Luka Koper is not only important for the Slovenian automotive industry, it is also significant for logistics solutions for a number of hinterland markets. Koper is very well-located for Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Northern Italy, Northern Germany, Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia, which is why we cooperate extensively with these markets. In addition we cooperate in notably quantities with markets like Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia as well.

In case of Slovenian automotive industry, we help establish the most convenient solutions for finished vehicles distribution for export in the Mediterranean and Northern Italy. In another concept, the concept of the Slovenian manufacturer of caravans and motorhomes, named Adria Mobil, we represent the main import point for vehicles that they further develop in their production process.

AI: What role has Luka Koper Car Terminal played in attracting international automotive companies like Renault? Please give us details of how Luka Koper helped Revoz ship cars from Slovenia?

We see our main contributions in adapting and improving the port infrastructure and the Car Terminal infrastructure to achieve the capacity that can serve for distribution of import and export flows of vehicles. In some logistics concepts we are a transit point or a distribution center for Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkan region.

AI: How important is Luka Koper Car Terminal in terms of connection the Western automotive industry to markets in China, India, Brazil and Russia? Please give details on how much of the Terminal’s cargo go to these countries.

For Western automotive industry we act mainly as a distribution center for the eastern Mediterranean. However we handle import flows of vehicles from China and India targeted to the European markets. We partly cover Russian market for several manufacturers as well.

For the moment, the most important share of throughput from Asia is import of South Korean vehicles.

AI: What are some of the challenges facing Luka Koper Car Terminal in its quest to become an important player in the movement of goods for the automotive market?

We strive to meet up market trends by constantly improving and still expanding the infrastructure and providing capacities to meet the needs of automotive industry in the area. In particular, to facilitate the new automotive plants in Eastern Europe and their export potential as well as the imminent import potential of Chinese and Indian manufacturers.

In order to stay competitive we are constantly improving our IT system and indulging in employee training programs. In January 2006 a new regular short sea shipping line to Barcelona was established. The aim is to connect eastern and western Mediterranean, two important production and consumption regions of the automotive industry. With help of this new service our clients will have the possibility to redirect some land traffic, which has caused trouble in the past because of unpredictable lead times and costs, to the sea.

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