Croatia’s Leading Port Being Transformed into Key Maritime Hub

Bojan Hlaca, Executive Director
Bojan Hlaca, Executive Director

The Port of Rijeka, Croatia’s biggest port is being transformed through the ambitious Rijeka Gateway Project, a far-reaching initiative that aims to position Rijeka as a key regional and international maritime hub. This project supports efforts, not only to develop new capacities of port terminals, but also to open possibilities for massive infra-structure development and a different and improved image of the port area along the coast. In 2003, when the World Bank, Croatia’s government and the Port of Rijeka Authority signed onfor the Rijeka Gateway Project, the most important changes inthe port’s history began.

Despite the negative circumstances surrounding the global market policy, successfully implemented projects have already affected the increase in container traffic, particularly in capacity from 10,000 to 150,000 containers. After the construction of new terminals, Rijeka port is about to reach a capacity, five times larger than today. The port is currently achieving around €50 million in annual turnover even before the planned expansion projects are completed.

Bojan Hlaca, Executive Director of the Port of Rijeka Authority, refers to this growth as the achievement of the main goal of the Rijeka Gateway Project.

Bojan Hlaca says, “Our goal is to be the top container port in the Adriatic. The fi nal target of our efforts is to make sure Croatia will be joining the European Union with a completely new, competitive and safe port in a stimulating business environment. I am particularly pleased that so far our concessionaires have reached record turnovers. This means we are on the right path. At present, we are preparing tenders for the new terminals, and also have many ongoing – and not less significant – projects underway.”

The Port Authority is seeking strategic partners and aims to issue international tenders. “We are looking for the right partner who will further support our determination to diversify and attract more container Bojan Hlaca, Executive Director traffic to the port, for example companies skilled in the planning and implementing of cargo handling facilities, as well as a railway company and a logistics partner that guarantees prompt service,” Bojan Hlaca says.

The great assets of the port relate to extensions and building of new container terminals. A draft of 18 meters in the future container port will accommodate all types of vessels, giving Rijeka another advantage over other ports in the region. The most stringent environmental criteria are being developed to meet the latest EU standards as Croatia works toward achieving EU membership. Finally, a planned high-speed railway will further stimulate activity at the port, which offers outstanding investment potential.

Thanks to the ideal location and modernisation projects, it is set for continued strong growth, vying for a major position as Central and South Europe’s gateway.