Well-developed transport infrastructure and excellent connections to the Port of Koper, which offers the shortest transport route from the Far East through the Suez Canal to Europe, strengthen the favourable geostrategic position of Slovenia and contribute to the country’s exceptional potential for transport and logistics.
Slovenia has a favourable geostrategic position and thus exceptional potential in for transport and logistics. The focus in recent years has been to further develop infrastructure capabilities, which is a prerequisite for the realization of logistics objectives. In the last three years, the Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure has embarked on three major infrastructure projects: the building of a second railway track between Divača and Koper, the improvement of road connections along the third development axis between Koroška and Vinica (on the border with Croatia), and a second tunnel pipe at Karavanke.
In the Transport Development Strategy of the Republic of Slovenia until 2030, special focus is devoted to logistics. In addition to the main Slovenian hubs already covered in the trans-European transport network, the strategy emphasizes the wider significance of the development of intermodal hubs for all methods of transport. The strategy focuses on the development of small logistic centres as well as of safe and secure parking spots that the state would like to install along the Slovenian motorway system.
The competitive advantages of the Port of Koper are its reliability and flexibility
The three pillars
There are three vital players in Slovenia’s campaign of improvement in transport and logistics: the Slovenian Railways, the Motorway Company of the Republic of Slovenia, and the Port of Koper, which represents one of the key entrances to continental Europe. The Slovenian Railways have begun to modernize railway infrastructure throughout the country, and the key to faster transport will be the construction of the 2nd track between Divača and Luka Koper.
The Port of Koper is also about to undertake major key investments, which are vital for remaining competitive on the international market. “One of the most important investments we are planning for the coming years is the extension of the first pier, which is the container terminal. In total, we will invest EUR 235 million in this project. In the past years, part of this amount has already been invested in deepening the port’s waters, purchasing new lifts and equipment and construction of terminal railway tracks. In May 2019, we will start building a 100-meter extension and associated hinterland storage areas”, says Sebastjan Šik from the Port of Koper. If everything goes according to plans, the project will be completed in early 2021. The Port of Koper will thus increase the annual capacity of the terminal to 1.5 million container units.
To increase the port’s capacity and its competitiveness, other investment projects are equally important for the Port of Koper. “In March 2019 we will open an additional cargo entrance to the eastern side of the Port. For the needs of the car terminal, we already have a permit for building a new RO-RO berth and nearby railway tracks. We are also planning to build a new garage house for 6,000 cars”, explains Sebastjan Šik.
The Port of Koper will invest €235 million in the extension of the container terminal
Record years and winning over competition
The Port of Koper has been expanding its handling capacity throughout the last years and beating previous records. At the Port of Koper they believe that their main advantage over competing ports in the region is “our reliability and flexibility, which is the result of our business model, where we combine the tasks of the port administration and terminal operator under one roof. Then there are regular railway connections, which we improve together with our partners and connect Koper with European logistic and industrial centres on a daily basis. More and more types of goods move into containers for cost-effectiveness and good shipping connections.”
Ports invest heavily in container capacity, making competition the strongest in this particular segment, where the Port of Koper has been a regional leader since 2010. In 2018 they came closer to one million transhipped container units (TEUs). “With new investments and developing backlinks, we intend to stay at the top”, Šik predicts.
Dars’ plans for the future, in addition to the construction of strategic traffic routes across the country, also include improving road safety and increasing traffic flows
New construction projects and more safety on Slovenian motorways
The Motorway Company of the Republic of Slovenia (Dars), which operates Slovenian motorways, is also facing infrastructure challenges. Thus, the construction of a second pipe of the Karavanke tunnel are about to begin.
“We will also continue with the procedures for starting the construction of the northern and southern parts of the third development axis. For the northern part we are about to begin to prepare the project documentation and land acquisition, while for the southern part we will announce a tender for the construction of a 5.5 km section from the A2 motorway at Novo mesto to the Osredek terminal in 2019, ” says Marijan Koler from Dars.
In spring of 2018, electronic road toll collection was introduced. The remaining toll stations are now being demolished. With this the flow of Slovenian motorways will significantly increase and at the same time relieve traffic on local roads.
In the last period, Dars also devotes a lot of attention to traffic safety. “Based on the current traffic growth, we can conclude that in the next few years, our most difficult task will be to ensure adequate traffic safety and maximize traffic flow. We cannot carry expand the width of motorways on the short run, hence we are working on increasing the flow by other measures. We invest in smart transport solutions. On portions of the motorway, from Lukovica near Domžale to Ljubljana Ring and further to Divača in Primorska, 21 portals and semi-portals, traffic control and traffic management systems will be installed, which will contribute to higher traffic flows,” explained Marjan Koler form DARS.
The flow of traffic is also at the heart of the next project, which is planned by Dars: Speed Management. “The flow rate is higher at lower speeds; not at 130 kilometres per hour, but between 80 and 100kmh, depending on the structure of the traffic and the motorway infrastructure itself,” explains DARS, as part of its vision of the future.