A contract has been signed to dredge the south berth of Adriatic Gate Container Terminal at Croatia’s Port of Rijeka, providing an equal sea depth of 14.9 m across the 428 m quay.
Nuova, the contractor, will carry out the HRK98bn (US$15m) project, in which 100 m along the coastal southern quay wall will be deepened to match the remaining 328 m, which already has a depth of 14.9 m.
A further project with CEF will feature additional dredging to a depth of 16.5 m, allowing the next generation of larger vessels to be handled.
It is hoped that the works will further improve cargo flows between Asia and Europe for the local market, which increasingly includes central Europe.
Emmanuel Papagiannakis, AGCT CEO, stated: “The 100 m deepening is crucial for our business, as the required berth depth is a key requirement for container shipping companies to efficiently keep calling Port of Rijeka and for AGCT to remain a gateway in North Adriatic, also considering constant cascading of larger vessels requiring deeper berth.
“Current depth for 328 m restricts the number of containers that can be handled on container ships that are currently berthing at AGCT, reducing call size and creating underutilised vessels.
He added: “With seabed dredged another 100 m, the largest vessels calling the Adriatic 15,000 teu can maximise volumes without restriction and reduce berthing/unberthing time for larger vessels calling AGCT.
Rail currently represents a 42% share of cargo volumes at the terminal, and the operator hopes that further port development will help Rijeka become an important southern entry point into Europe, as the logistics industry in Croatia develops.
In particular, rail volumes have grown almost 50% compared to last year following investment in intermodal yard.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the terminal recorded a 15% rise in volumes over the first five months of 2020, following a growth rate of 20% last year.
The terminal is a public-private partnership between International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), which as a 51% share, and Luka Rijeka which represents the remaining 49%.
The Philippines-based operator has set a target for AGCT to be a strategic port for container traffic for the central and southeast European markets within the 30 year concession period, running from 2011-2041.