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  • 2021 April 28 16:13

    Review of Klaipėda State Seaport land lease requires extensive discussion and sustainable solutions

    Lithuania’s Ministry of Transport and Communications says Minister Marius Skuodis met with the Association of Lithuanian Stevedoring Companies representatives and stated that within the next few years the seaport is to see major investment infrastructure projects likely to increase the port’s competitiveness. Increasing the port’s property value and improving its competitive environment requires sustainable solutions and in-depth discussion with all stakeholders with regard to the Klaipėda State Seaport land lease that has not been changed for over a decade and proposed changes to the charges calculation methodology.

    “The State has been continuously investing into the modernisation of the port quays, ensuring appropriate depths of port area and near the quays, as well as improving the port’s competitiveness. Thus, it is highly important to develop an efficient, transparent and fair land lease methodology. This is the only way to ensure return on investment and consistent implementation of the port’s development plans,” the Minister emphasized during the meeting.

    Over the period from 2010 through to 2019 Klaipėda Seaport’s turnover grew twice as fast as the common market of the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea (Klaipėda Seaport loading increased from 31.3 mn tonnes to 46.3 mn tonnes over the period at hand). Last year, the port reached a record-breaking volume of cargo (around 48 mn tonnes) and retains a strong position compared to the neighbouring countries’ ports.

    This year Klaipėda Seaport launched one of this year’s most important investment projects – dredging works of the shipping canal and breakwaters reconstruction. Upon increasing the depth of the shipping canal to 15 m and the permissible draught of vessels in the larger part of the port to 13.8 m, the port should attract larger and more fully loaded vessels and the logistic chain should become more efficient. The port quays are being reconstructed to accommodate greater depth, railway construction and reconstruction works are underway, and the development of the southern port area infrastructure is expected in the near future with the view to adapt it to high-added-value generating activities.

    However, the Minister believes that the port’s financial resources are limited and the main source of funding the port’s infrastructure development comes from the port charges and land lease. The fact that the port's land lease has remained the same over 10 years should not be overlooked too. Over the said period the leased property value increased at a faster pace than did the land lease revenue. It is estimated that due to investment the value of the property directly used by the lessees and owned by the Klaipėda Seaport Authority grew by 1.9 times, while the land lease revenue grew by 1.3 times due to additionally leased territories and new infrastructure (quays).

    According to the Minister, prior to changing the existing land lease charges calculation methodology, the Seaport Authority and the port’s users need to have an extensive discussion. ‘Sustainable solutions’ need to be found by concluding long-term project development conditions, by planning for return on investment into the state infrastructure, and, obviously, by making transparency, clarity and fair competition immediate priorities. 

    The new land lease procedure is expected to become binding as of 1 January 2022.

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