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Interview with Božidar Kalmeta

  • Minister of Sea, Transport and Infrastructures of Croatia - Croatia
  • Newsletter n°11 - October 2010

Božidar Kalmeta

1. How will the Croatian economic development strategy change after the modernization of the Port of Ploče and the activation of its first container terminal. In which measure will it weigh on the domestic development and/or will it mainly affect the south-eastern regional dimension?

The establishment of the feeder line in March 1999 enabled the connection of the "Port of Ploce", as well as  of some other Croatian lines, with other hub ports in the Mediterranean sea. Thus, the port users gained the opportunity to get involved in the world container traffic. In accordance with this, "Luka Ploce" JSC undertakes all necessary steps to improve the container terminal business. This can be seen through the computerisation process and planned construction of a new, separate and modern terminal. From 1999 - 2008 the container traffic has been constantly increasing. The construction of the terminal began in 2008 and its capacity in the first phase will be of 60.000 container units. The funds invested so far amount to €44,2 millions, of which €15 millions derive from national funds. The second and the third phase will be implemented through the concession contract between the Port Authority and "Luka Ploce" JSC to extend the terminal to the 23 hectares with the annual capacity of half a million container units.

2. Could you define the relevance of the foreseen modernization and improvement of rail lanes to Rijeka with the future development of the Port structures?

Construction/reconstruction of the railway section Koprivnica - Dugo Selo - Zagreb - Karlovac - Krasica - Rijeka mainly derives from the development plans to modernize the port facilities in the broader area of Rijeka, namely in the Kvarner bay. This particularly refers to the construction of a new railway line (Zagreb) - Hrvatski Leskovac - Krasica (Rijeka) with a separate section for the Krk island.

Current plans envisage the enlargement of the Brajdica terminal to reach the annual capacity of 350 000 TEU. Due to the impossibility to further extend the Brajdica terminal area, it is envisaged to build a new container terminal in the western part of the port (Zagrebačka obala) with an annual capacity of 600.000 TEU.

Since any further extension of this container area will not be possible, the final solution will be the construction of a new container port on the Krk island with an annual capacity of 2.500.000 TEU.

Three scenarios are envisaged for the year 2030. For the minimum scenario the processing of 1.1017.203 TEU per year is envisaged, whereas for the "middle" scenario it amounts to 1.658.996 TEU and finally in the maximum scenario it could reach 2.605.659 TEU.

The increase of the trans-shipment of other freight types is proceeding at a much slower pace. The envisaged total quantity of trans-shipment of other freight types in 2026 in the minimal scenario amounts to 11.215.000 tonnes; in the middle to 15.770.000 tonnes and in the maximum scenario to 20.285.000 tonnes. These figures include trans-shipment of oil in the Omišalj terminal but exclude the container trans-shipments.

The quantities that will be transported from the port, including the transport of containers, are determined on the basis of the above mentioned development plans.

Three basic scenarios have been developed to show the freight quantity which will be transported by rail and processed in the port. As for the minimal scenario for the year 2030, 10.762.309 tonnes will be transported by rail and processed in the port; the middle scenario envisages 18.591.888 tonnes of freight and the most optimistic scenario predicts 27.728.468 tonnes of freight.

Containers will expectedly be the largest portion of the freight and it is realistic to foresee that 60% of all containers processed there will be transported by rail.

The existing railway line Zagreb - Rijeka has the capacity of 6.370.000 net tonnes of freight per year and the capacity increase along the existing railway, regardless of the investments, is not considerable. The existing railway is characterized by high exploitation costs which is in fact yet another reason to plan a new alignment, that would fulfil the exploitation requirements and secure its competitiveness.

The latter consideration clearly suggests that the freight transport from the Rijeka port will determine the construction of a railway, but it is also obvious that before investing any funds into the new railway there should be a decision on the construction of a new port (container terminal) on the island of Krk. The total capacity of the port of Rijeka, even after the modernisation of Zagrebačka obala and Brajdica, will not be sufficient to justify the construction of a very expensive railway from Rijeka to Zagreb and further to the border with Hungary.

3. Inrecent years Croatia has pursued a large infrastructure development programme favouring the motorways extension, with a great direct domestic budget involvement. Which are the present weak spots that still characterize the network and what are the foreseen solutions?

Modernization of the road network in Croatia contributed greatly to the development of the whole transport network in the region. The current situation allows us the offering and organizing of functional and high quality door-to-door services in Croatia. However, at the same time, our neighbouring countries have not followed the road network development, which brought about some weaknesses in the regional transportation services. The railway network is an important element in the development of a high quality and competitive transport system, but unfortunately it's underdeveloped. However, according to the plans, this sector will represent a priority in the future infrastructural investments. Furthermore, strategic documents, identify the development of the intermodality, supporting infrastructure and cargo centres as development generators of a functional traffic system. Based on the European Commission's guidelines, and the recognized need for modernization of logistics and administrative processes, the computerization of our overall transport system has already started. The goal is to develop an IT system that would allow us to plan the travel from origin to destination combining all transport modes, followed by the electronic cargo tracking and functional paperless document exchange.

In order to secure full functionality of the motorway network in Croatia it is necessary to guarantee the continuity with the European motorway network, which will be achieved once all the planned motorways are built and made operational.

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