Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Development of the port of Rijeka continues thanks to the “Gateway Projekt”

Written by Giovanni Vale, in ZAGREB on Friday, April 24th 2015 à 09:14 | Read 1589 times



Since 2003, almost €190 million has been invested in Rijika, Croatia’s largest port, to boost its competitiveness and link it the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). A further €31 million has been allocated for 2015.

Port of Rijeka (photo Port of Rijeka)
Port of Rijeka (photo Port of Rijeka)
CROATIA. The largest port in Croatia is a work in progress. The urban landscape of the city of Rijeka has undergone a transformation since 2003. With financial support from the World Bank and the government in Zagreb, the “Gateway” project aims to turn this city in the northern Adriatic into a flagship multipurpose port in Central Europe. Almost €190 million has already been invested in the construction of new terminals and the modernisation of road and rail connections to make the port more competitive. The port authority has announced investments of 236.2 million kunas (€31 million) for 2015.

The Port of Rijeka is situated on the Pan-European corridor Vb (Zagreb-Budapest) and connected to the TEN-T network via the A1/A5 motorway and the railway line which links the Croatian capital to the coast. Until now, these two transport modes have been not been fully exploited. “Only 20% of goods unloaded at Rijeka are transported by train,” explains Alen Jugovic, Professor of Port Economics and Organisation at the University of Rijeka. To correct this imbalance, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Transport is planning to build a second rail link between Zagreb and the coast by 2020. Also within the framework of the “Gateway” project, the government is considering a plan for large-scale modernisation of the existing railway, this time up to the Hungarian border.
Most of the railways in Croatia were built a century ago and are in need of upgrades,” Alen Jugovic continues. This is the case for the railway line that connects the Port of Rijeka to its ro-ro terminal in Bakar, around 10km south of the city. The Bay of Bakar is deep and allows large vessels to dock there but it is difficult to access by train. The station is 100m lower than Rijeka station, which means train operators must approach it very slowly. To get around this and improve traffic flow, the government and Croatian Railways (HZ) plan to build a second railway line between Rijeka and Škrljevo near the Bay of Bakar.

Attracting new passengers to Rijeka

Porto Baroš (photo Port of Rijeka)
Porto Baroš (photo Port of Rijeka)
Other investments to develop passenger transport have also been announced alongside the project. “We are confident of achieving several goals by 2017,” confirms Irena Kriz from the Port of Rijeka Authority. “In addition to the renovation of the Porto Baroš marina, we will create a new space for citizens in Delta where we’re building a conference centre, hotels and apartments. We’re also looking at transforming the breakwater “Molo Longo” and pedestrianizing the existing Adamić pier.”

The city of Rijeka has welcomed between 150,000 and 200,000 visitors every year since ferries began calling at the port to reach the neighbouring islands of Pag and Rab as well as Dubrovnik, a popular tourist destination. This number is certain to grow. Following its entry into the European Union, Croatia will free up the ferry market in 2017. Rijeka could well benefit from this measure. Only the Croatian company Jadrolinija currently operates services to the city, however, other European companies will be able to carry passengers to the Port of Rijeka in the next two years.

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