This year, Klaipėda Central Terminal (CKT) is celebrating its 5th anniversary. Its theoretically available capacity in terms of cargo has already been exceeded, and consideration has been given to the possible expansion of the terminal. Last year, three private plots adjacent to it were purchased.
Karolis Grigalauskas, the CEO of CKT, says that the partner of the terminal DFDS Seaways AB has very ambitious plans for the investments of hundreds of millions of euros – it is buying two new larger ferries, so CKT cannot stand still and must respond to its customer’s needs. The owner, UAB koncernas ACHEMOS GRUPĖ, supports this idea. During the last two years, almost 1 million EUR has been invested in the development of the terminal, the acquisition of land adjacent to it, and the modernisation of the IT system.
The CKT management system implemented in 2018 allowed optimisation of work processes and maximum utilisation of the terminal area, but calculations show that in the next few years it will struggle to accommodate all customers travelling with heavy trucks in the terminal.
For passengers, the design capacity of the CKT has not yet been exceeded. Last year the terminal served more than 300 thousand ship passengers, while its capacity is 500 thousand passengers. The design capacity of CKT in terms of cargo is about 5 million tons, while last year it handled 5.7 million tons. This year, compared to last year, the cargo flow increased by 4 percent. Looking at the 10-year perspective, ro-ro cargo flows are expected to increase by about 5 percent.
According to K. Grigalauskas, if nothing was done, the CKT could process the current cargo flows for another three to four years. But without the reconstruction of the pier and the widening of the terminal gate, the CKT would not be able to accommodate the new ro-pax ferries arriving in 2021. “In 2017, we have already increased the gate capacity, i. e. the number of arrival gates. And we are planning to increase it even more. Today we have 7 arrival gates, 3 departure gates, in the future we will have 10 arrival gates,” says K. Grigalauskas.
The study will answer the questions
The terminal development study launched this year should answer the question of how the three privately owned land plots purchased last year could be developed. The study is not finished yet. Various options are being considered, such as the use of a reserved part of the port area. In the unused area adjacent to the CKT, where there was a kindergarten and a student self-expression centre, the Port Authority forms a reserve area for the port. The border inspection post will remain there. It is expected that a tender for the lease of that reserve area will be launched, open to all interested parties.
Consideration is being given to whether a ramp should be built, or a second floor for heavy duty vehicles, such as the one available for lighter cars. However, according to K. Grigalauskas, such an analogue could not be found in any other port. The minimum option would be to slightly reduce the space available for passenger cars and give more space for heavy vehicles.
The pier is under reconstruction
Under the terms of the signed tripartite cooperation agreement, which provides for joint investments by both the Port Authority and the CKT and DFDS, all parties have been fulfilling their obligations so far. The big ferries are under construction, the terminal pier is under reconstruction and works should be completed next year. CKT implemented its investment plan which amounted to about 400,000 million EUR this year. The household facilities were slightly expanded and the working conditions of KLASCO people mooring the ships were improved.
The current pier used by CKT has two berths and will have three after the reconstruction. More than 30 piles will be constructed and a mooring site will be installed. The piling works by Statmax UAB should be completed by November.
Upon completion of the reconstruction of the pier, the CKT will be able to accommodate ferries with a length of 238 meters. In addition, the shipping channel will be slightly deepened at the CKT.
“We hope that Klaipėda State Seaport Authority understands our needs and will take them into consideration. We have a number of challenges. With the help of architects and their clients, we are trying to envision what the terminal will look like in a few years’ time when the big ro-pax ferries start to board it,” says the CEO of CKT.
Vaidas Klumbys, Director of Communications and Public Relations for DFDS Seaways AB, says that CKT is an advanced partner: the gate is digitalised and has a so called photogate. This allows it to suck up freight flows much faster and prevent traffic jams in the city. According to him, in the port city the traffic jams are not caused by the terminal.
“We are waiting for the reconstruction of the intersection of Baltijos avenue and Šilutės road when the viaduct is built and we hope that then there will be no problems caused by traffic in the city,” says K. Grigalauskas.