Port of the month: Port of Klaipėda
There is the common saying “when you have seen one port, you have seen one port”. To help you discovering Europe’s seaports and understand their differences, ESPO intends to start its monthly overview by presenting you each time a port, through an interview with one of its members.
Lithuania is holding the EU presidency, we decided to kick off with its main port, the port of Klaipeda.
Can you present us the Port of Klaipeda?
Klaipėda is Lithuania’s most important industrial and transportation centre: a hub of its maritime, air and land transportation. It is the northernmost ice-free port, which guarantees uninterrupted navigation and stevedoring works without any additional navigational surcharges. The annual capacity of Klaipėda Port is over 60 million tons. Being a multipurpose port with 38 specialized cargo terminals, Klaipeda handles all types of cargo. Klaipėda is a deep-water port. Over 7, 000 ships call the port per year. The port is capable of accepting large–tonnage vessels. The port can accommodate vessels up to 315 m in length and with a maximum draught of 13 m. International Ship and Port Facilities Security Code (ISPS Code) was introduced in the Port in 2004. Klaipėda Port is now equipped with a number of sophisticated security systems including x-ray and video monitoring systems.
ESPO wants to stimulate the sustainable development of European ports and their cities. We know Klaipeda is a member of the EcoPorts network and is an ISO 14001 certified port. What is the port of Klaipėda doing to achieve better social integration?
We highly appreciate ESPO efforts to simulate societal integration of ports. The award on societal integration introduced by ESPO is the catalyst of this process. It helps ports to put in the limelight their efforts to harmonize, improve and tighten their relationship between maritime stakeholders and local community.
Societal integration can unambiguously demonstrate the ports’ position as a generator of huge economic and social welfare for local and maritime communities. Ports are Maecenas of culture, arts, and sports. Port activities accelerate burgeoning of cities, whereas their residents guarantee the growth of ports.
Klaipeda port is proactive in different societal integration campaigns. Since 2005, Klaipeda State Seaport Authority carries out an extremely popular public campaign “Lets’ get acquainted with the port”. It organises free guided boat tours offered for city residents and guests. During these boat tours the participants can witness port activity and operations and learn about port expansions projects, rise sensitive issues and discuss these topics with a representative of the Port Authority.
Equally important are the “Open Port Days”. With this fairly new initiative Klaipeda State Seaport Authority proposes city residents and guests – at designated hours (in the headquarters of company) – to participate in port lectures and presentations and meetings with port executives and the harbor master.
Lithuania is currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. What does this mean for your port?
The Presidency of the Council of the European Union helps the Port of Klaipeda to raise more sensitive issues for discussion, guide consultations and meetings. It is an excellent tool of broader promotion and higher visibility on European and World scale; it increases awareness of sensitive issues and allows to develop a new business contact building platform.
Which impact will the forthcoming Port Regulation have on your port?
Klaipeda Port supports in principle the Proposal of the European Commission on the Port Regulation. However, the principles stipulated in the Port Regulations will have considerable impact on the existing conditions of the ports throughout Europe. Therefore, appropriate implementation of the Port Regulation is crucial for achieving the expected results.
Moreover, some exceptions and/or some tailoring should be done, due to different local historical markets and different administrative systems. The appropriate implementation of the Port Regulation is equally important as the Regulation itself and cannot be disregarded.
One of the proposals of the European Commission is that all core ports should develop an LNG-refuelling station by 2020. Is the port of Klaipėda supporting this strategy? And are you ready for that?
Since 2010, Klaipeda port implements the project of national importance: the construction of a Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal (LNG). The LNG Terminal shall be completed in Klaipėda by the end of 2014.
The terminal, with an annual capacity of 3 billion m3 of LNG, will have a FSRU (Floating Storage Re-gasification Unit). The pier for the FSRU mooring will be constructed in the southern part of the port, adjacent to “Kiaulės Nugara” island. LNG from the FSRU will be supplied to the country’s gas system and later distributed to consumers in Lithuania and abroad.
Klaipeda Port is thus clearly developing its LNG-refuelling strategy: the completion of the LNG Terminal will allow to propose these services in the nearest future.
What are the main challenges for your port? What do you hope the Lithuanian Presidency will accomplish for your port?
The main challenge of Klaipeda Port is to quickly adjust to changing market situation, to meet the market demands by reconstructing the port infrastructure: port dredging, construction new terminal and most important and the implementation of the port expansion project.
The existing territory of Klaipeda is no longer sufficient for cargo handling and storage.
The annual capacity of Klaipėda Port amounts to over 60 million tons. It is to be expected that by 2020, due to the growth of the cargo throughput, the port capacity will be entirely exhausted. The largest part of the territory of the port, which is historically situated in the neighborhood of the city, is intensively used for stevedoring operations. However, limited space restrains the port from expanding its territory, building new terminals and warehouses. Klaipėda port development requires new territories, greater water depth, and a wider navigation channel. The port expansion through the construction of a new port or outer (avant)-port is among one of our most important objectives.