Klaipėda Central Terminal Offers Solutions for Regulating Traffic Flows

With the global coronavirus pandemic resulting in stricter control of border crossing procedures, increasingly more carriers use ferry services. This has implications for both the operation of the Central Klaipėda Terminal (CKT) and, inevitably, the road transport flows in the central part of Klaipėda.

The railway will help reduce congestion

As Karolis Grigalauskas, General Director of the CKT, acknowledged, the rising cost of labour and the pressing shortage of freight transport drivers undoubtedly lead to the search for new transport alternatives.

“The most prominent recent trend is to focus on both improving the convenience of the logistics chain and reducing environmental pollution. One of the solutions is the rail transport of semi-trailers, which has been provided by Western European ports for more than a decade,” said K. Grigalauskas.

He cited the Italian port of Trieste as an example, with six or seven trains departing daily, each carrying 60 semi-trailers.

“The Port of Klaipėda is no exception. Attempts to transport full trailers and truck-trailers on railway platforms were already made a few years ago. This project failed back then, but today the situation is quite different,“ said the head of the CKT.

According to K. Grigalauskas, the pilot shipments from the CKT carried out in October last year showed that intermodal transport services using rail for freight transport are relevant and promising.

Revised departure schedules

The Vilnius Intermodal Terminal will soon be offered to the market, but further plans are in place to transport semi-trailers as far as Minsk or Odessa.

“Such a service provided in the port would reduce heavy vehicles on the roads, while at the same time ensuring greater safety and less environmental pollution,” said the head of the CKT.

According to him, the company has already taken other concrete steps to regulate heavy traffic flows in the direction of the terminal to minimise inconvenience for the city’s residents.

“The final point of departure for semi-trailers and heavy vehicles along Baltijos Avenue is the Central Klaipėda Terminal and the stevedoring company Bega. The traffic to the terminal follows the ferry timetable, and since the ferries to Germany and Sweden depart at 8 pm and 9 pm, certain days of the week the congestion may occur in the evening”, commented K. Grigalauskas, the head of the CKT. “Together with the ferry operator DFDS, the ferry departure schedules have been revised more than a month ago, and now there is less traffic on the problematic Tuesday.”

In addition, DFDS Seaways is planning to operate a new generation ferry in the autumn, to replace older vessels and to take more cargo.

Parking facilities will be provided

According to the director, a full programme of investments in expanding the terminal’s capacity has been prepared in order to make the operation of the CKT even more trouble-free and to solve the problem of congestion in Baltijos Avenue.

“We are already negotiating with the Klaipėda State Seaport Authority on speeding up the gate control and ensuring better throughput capacity,” he said.

According to K. Grigalauskas, the General Director of CKT, additional photogate is to be installed by the summer to ensure smoother access to the terminal and increasing the number of semi-trailers. IT is expected to double the entry speed of unaccompanied cargo (semi-trailers).

“In addition, a project to widen the gates will be implemented: three additional gates will be added for heavy vehicles to enter the terminal,” he shared the plans.

It is estimated that this will double the current gate capacity for all heavy vehicles. It is also planned to install parking on the CKT’s property next to the terminal. A technical project is being prepared and will be submitted to the port city municipality for approval in the near future.

“Our aim is to accumulate the vehicles arriving in the city inside the terminal as efficiently as possible, so that fewer vehicles are left parked on Baltijos Avenue,” K. Grigalauskas commented.