New possibilities evolved and demands increased after the accession of the Baltic States to the EU in 2004. If before attention was mainly paid to mass cargo handling complexes, recently the changes in market environments lead to an essential review of port development strategies – giving the priority to intermodal cargo,
logistics services, passenger and tourist attraction. This article covers recent port developments in Lithuania and future plans.
Despite enlarged competition in the Eastern Baltics, cargo handling volumes in Klaipe˙ da have increased and cargo handling records were broken in 2006 exceeding 23.5 million tonnes. Using a loan from the World Bank, a port entrance reconstruction project was launched in 2000. Presently breakwaters have been reconstructed and the port entrance has been dredged up to 14.5 metres.
Following the investment programme of the Port of Klaipe˙ da (during the period of 2002-2005) attention was mainly focused on the reconstruction of the port entrance and the development of the Northern part of the port, where mass cargo terminals are located (oil products, fertilizers, grain, etc.). Here berths have already been reconstructed and the depth at the berths is such that it allows to acceptance of vessels with max draught up to 12.5 metres.
During 2000-2005 the Port Authority and the companies operating in the port allocated 300 million Euros towards modernisation and construction of several modern terminals: liquid and bulk fertilizers, oil products, and cruise vessels terminal. In 2006 a new container terminal started its operation. Currently the Port of Klaipe˙ da can render services to container ships of up to 11.50 metres draught that carry 2,000 TEU containers.
The investment programme (during the period of 2007-2013) approved by the Port Authority founder, namely the Ministry of Transport and Communications, foresees the continuation of the reconstruction and construction of berths as well as dredging works, in this way – firstly, seeking more effective utilisation of the Southern part of the port, where the main multimodal cargo terminals are located. The route of contrailer shuttle train Klaipe˙ da – Minsk – Odessa which connects the Baltic and Black Seas starts here as well. Furthermore public logistic center will be established here.
265 million Euros have been allocated for investments in the Investment programme of the Port of Klaipe˙ da (during the period of 2007-2013).
Among other projects a new ro-ro – passenger terminal should be mentioned, which is scheduled to be constructed in the central part of the port. The new terminal would be at the convenient place, i.e. close to the city center, near to the main city highways,beside the access to the Klaipe˙ da-Vilnius highway. It is especially convenient for people going by ferry with their own transport.
Geographical location of the Port of Klaipe˙ da has determined that port development is a very sensitive issue. The port is situated at Klaipe˙ da Strait which connects the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea. Klaipe˙ da City with a population of 200,000 is to the East from the port. To the North from the Harbour entrance there is a stretch of recreation zones alongside the whole seashore.