The beginning of the year in Klaipeda Seaport was signified by completion of large-scale operations – Phase I reconstruction work of the first berth for handling of oil products. More than EUR 25 million have been invested in this project.
Phase I of the works involved construction of a new berth of more than 235 m length replacing the former coastal armouring. Under the project, up to 17 m were dredged at the berth, which is the maximum target depth for the Port.
“After completion of Phase I, AB Klaipedos nafta is now able to accommodate and handle three tankers at a time, instead of previous two. Once fully implemented, the new infrastructure will allow for the handling of high-capacity tankers, making the Port more attractive and the logistics chain more efficient for shippers. Reaching 17 m depth at the berths will enable us to make the best use of the Port’s parameters in the future,” emphasises Algis Latakas, Director General of Klaipeda State Seaport Authority. – Despite this decline in cargo turnover, which I believe is temporary, it is necessary to take a long-term view – the Port must be developed in a targeted manner, and we must make maximum efforts to increase its competitive advantage and attract cargo flows”.
In Phase I, SE Klaipeda State Seaport Authority invested EUR 25.28 million in the development of the infrastructure of the first berth.
According to the trilateral agreement signed with the contractor, AB Klaipedos Nafta (KN), which uses the berths, has invested in the superstructure: installation of new pipelines with control fittings, power supply, lighting, fire-fighting and other systems to ensure safe operation of the oil terminal.
The Company has also purchased and installed the most advanced oil product handling equipment in the Baltic Sea region for loading oil products to and from tankers. This equipment can load up to five different types of products onto a single tanker at the same time. It is also safer and more reliable under unfavourable meteorological conditions.
Two tankers have already been successfully accommodated by KN at the new berth.
CEO of KN Darius Šilenskis notes that the new berth will ensure the continuity of KN’s oil terminal operations while the other two berths used by the Company, which are by far the oldest in the port, are being reconstructed or repaired – the load-bearing structures of these berths were installed as long ago as 60 years ago, in 1962.
“The reconstruction of the remaining berths used by KN is planned in coordination with KSSA and other related parties, to ensure that the works do not have any negative impact on the services provided to our customers. The new berth will enable us to accommodate tankers in two berths during subsequent phases of the reconstruction without disrupting the vessel handling processes,” emphasises D. Šilenskis.
According to CEO of KN, the new infrastructure and superstructure is already helping to increase the flexibility of Klaipeda Oil Terminal, enabling it to handle larger quantities and a wider variety of products in smaller batches, thus fully utilising the potential of the existing container fleet and allowing it to offer new transhipment, storage and blending services to customers.
From 8 types of oil products at the beginning of 2021, today 13 different types of oil products are being handled together with bitumen via the infrastructure of KN, including several types of biofuels (RRME, ethanol, biodiesel). In 2021, the terminal’s handling of the latter products increased significantly, with as much as 40 % more biofuels handled in 2021 compared to 2020. In 2021, the total volume of tankers handled at KN also increased by around 9 %, i.e. more than 0.5 million tonnes of oil, petrochemical products and biofuels were transhipped to and from the terminal.
The infrastructure works in Phase I were carried out by contractors UAB Tilsta and UAB Fegda, who won the tender.
In the future, after the implementation of Phase II of the project, the Port of Klaipeda will be able to accommodate tankers with a deadweight tonnage of 200,000 tonnes.