One of Europe’s most modern car and Ro-Ro terminals, the Slovenian port of Koper, continues to expand as it attracts new business. Most recently Hyundai Glovis’s division in Europe has begun using a short-sea route from Slovenia to Spain for the export of vehicles made at Hyundai-Kia’s production plants in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Hyundai is one of more than 20 global OEMs that are using the facility, which includes a fivestorey garage with 6,000 parking spaces. Imports through the gateway for Central and Eastern Europe originate mainly from Japan, South Korea and Turkey, while European production OEMs export through the terminal. Koper is linked directly into the European rail system. Value-added logistics services include pre delivery inspection (PDI) and pre delivery service (PDS). The port of Koper’s terminal operator – Luka Koper – has recently expanded the storage area of its Ro-Ro terminal by 16,000 square metres to accommodate an additional 780 units. In 2015 the terminal managed a throughput of 607,326 vehicles.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Gregor BeliÄ, Car Terminal Director at the port of Koper, what the plans for the harbour are.
BeliÄ: Our goal is to increase the annual capacity to 900,000 units by 2020. We shall achieve this by constructing an additional dedicated berth for car-carriers in Basin III and set up new open storage areas for around 10,000 cars. We also plan to extend four railway tracks on the present areas and improve railway-related operations, with shorter loading/unloading times. A new truck gate is planned to be added at a later stage, which will help to improve internal logistic and traffic management. We are also considering increasing the garage capacity. During all phases our IT system is constantly upgraded.
AI: Is the new facility designed for imports or exports (or both)?
BeliÄ: The new facilities will be used for both, imports and export flows. The current ratio is 66% exports, 34% imports.
AI: Do you see a growth in short sea shipping?
BeliÄ: In recent years we have seen growth especially in short-sea exports throughout the Mediterranean. However, with the addition of new premium brand export volumes, we see an opportunity to increase deep-sea exports.
AI: Will the new facilities offer additional value-added logistics services?
BeliÄ: We already offer a variety of on-site PDI and PDS services, which are performed by our subsidiary company Avtoservis. Additional facilities shall be set up according to customer needs and demands of our clients.
AI: Will it be a multimodal terminal?
BeliÄ: Port of Koper is already an intermodal hub. The overall modal split for the Car terminal is 55% for rail, 45% for road.
AI: What will it bring the design capacity to?
BeliÄ: The planned investment and construction will be carried out gradually in phases in order to ensure that current operations are not affected. They should be implemented step by step until 2020. In the short term, for 2016 we plan to reach around 720.000 units of throughput, while in 2015 the throughput was 607,000 units.
AI: What are the time-lines in the construction process?
BeliÄ: The additional rail access and the arrangement of new open storage areas should be completed in 2017, while the car-carrier berth should be operational in 2018. The truck-gate is planned for 2019, while this year we shall obtain new capacities for 2000 vehicles at the western part of Pier 2.
AI: What attracts OEMs such as Daimler to the facility?
BeliÄ: Koper has an outstanding geographical location and a long history of experience with finished vehicle handling. Over the years there has been consistent investment in port infrastructure and processes to meet the needs of the market. As a port we can quickly adapt to meet the needs of OEMs. In this context premium OEMs see Koper as a suitable solution because we can keep up with their high standards and offer a better level of flexibility, decrease delivery time and consequently costs. The southern transport route is daily becoming more popular and important, not only for vehicles, but also for containers.