Koper - one of Europe’s most important ports

14.02.2014

On 13th February 2014, the Port of Koper was visited by Mr Torhan Al-Mufti, the Iraqi Minister for Provincial Affairs and Acting Minister of Communications, who has been in Slovenia of late. Today Mr Al-Mufti will receive an award from the International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) for his special contribution to the promotion of provincial development in Iraq. 

Mr Al-Mufti was received by Luka Koper's Management Board President, Mr Gašpar Gašpar Mišič, and his visit was an opportunity to discuss the possibilities of collaboration between the Port of Koper and the Iraqi port of Basra, as well as the increase of trade with Iraq via the Port of Koper, which offers the shortest shipping logistics route between the Middle and Far East and the markets of Central and Eastern Europe. 

The throughput of Iraqi cargo via the Port of Koper is at present rather modest, and vehicle exports to Iraq – currently less than 2,000 per year – make up the major portion. Imports from Iraq are mainly in the form of container freight, 160 TEUs last year. "Every container and every type of cargo is important to us, because the Port of Koper is multipurpose. Iraq is a large importer of a variety of goods and this is our opportunity to increase business through closer collaboration" commented Management Board President Gašpar Mišič, who also took the opportunity to express gratitude to IFIMES for their help in establishing contacts and promoting collaboration between Slovenia and the Middle East. 

According to Mr Al-Mufti, oil accounts for some 80 percent of Iraq’s total exports, while at the same time it imports a variety of commodities. "Slovenia and Iraq certainly have one in common - a short coastline. Ours is only 58 kilometres long, a little more than Slovenia. In addition, Slovenia and Iraq have no conflicts or open questions, hence there exist a lot of opportunities for collaboration. In the light of what I have seen today, Koper is one of the EU’s more important ports, and I have suggested that the Management Board President to immediately start working on a collaboration agreement, most likely with the port of Basra. Such would also open doors for co-operation in other areas," asserted Minister Al-Mufti in the press release. 

Luka Koper also sees an opportunity to increase trade with Iraq as regards project cargos, for which the company is highly specialised. Indeed, many European companies are investing in Iraqi infrastructure, and in this Koper could act as both a port of origin as well as a logistics centre for the supply of plant and equipment to Iraq.