Banks offer €65mln to create Baltic hub port
An expansion of Lithuania's biggest transport hub, the Port of Klaipeda, could allow for more direct shipments to the Baltic regions, reducing carbon emissions, according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is providing half of a €65 million ($86.6 million) financing package for the project, Ship & Bunker reports.
The EBRD is lending €32.5 million ($43.3 million) to Klaipedos Smelte, a subsidiary of container terminal operator Terminal Investment Limited, while Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (SEB) is providing another €32.5 million loan.
Currently most cargo arriving in Baltic ports arrives at hubs including Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, Andtwerp, and Hamburg, and then moves on to the Baltic area on feeder ships.
The expansion of Klaipeda's container handling capacity will allow large vessels to call there with cargo bound for the Baltic region as well as Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. By moving cargo more efficiently, the new hub could reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 50,000 tonnes per year.
"The improved quality and scope of port services resulting from the project will boost trade in Lithuania and neighbouring countries and lead to lower costs for consumers," said Su Barrett, transport director for EBRD.
"A modern and efficient container terminal will also help improve the competitiveness of the Lithuanian export industry."
Klaipeda is a good spot for the project because of its location within the region and because it has good rail and road connections, supporting intermodal transport of goods.
In 2012, the Port of Klaipeda handled 35.24 million tonnes of cargo, with a quarter of that total made up of oil products and 31.7 percent of fertilizers, according to its website.
The port handled 382,000 twenty-foot equivalent units of containers in 2011, more than fellow Baltic ports Riga and Tallinn.