One of the main objectives of Luka Koper 's business strategy is for its port's Fruit Terminal to become a leading logistics and distribution centre for perishable goods emanating from the Eastern Mediterranean and destined for European markets. This goal is supported by the company's development policy, which of late has invested heavily in the expansion and modernisation of Fruit Terminal facilities.
The largest investment in the upgrade of fruit terminal capacities was completed in March 2008. It encompasses a renovated banana ripening facility, the handling capability of which has increased from 1,500 to 1,800 tonnes per month, as well as warehouses Nos. 9 and 10. The Terminal's recent acquisitions also encompass facilities aimed at the distribution of fruit and vegetables from warehouse No. 13, which until now were used for various general cargos.
The renovated warehouses - 9 and 10 - are now universal fruit facilities with temperature and humidity regulation. They are equipped with bay racks for palleted produce, a feature that allows a better use of space and easier manipulation. Warehouse No. 13, which was refurbished for the requirements of the Fruit Terminal, now serves for the provision of ancillary distribution services – namely, stuffing and stripping containers and truck loading. Further to being equipped to handle 76 reefer units – which has provided an additional 3,600 m2 of storage capacity – there are also 5 new truck loading bays adjoining the warehouse. Due to the seasonal character of fruit and vegetable throughput and distribution, this warehouse will also be available for other general cargos for a part of the year. The value of all the aforementioned investments, completed within just ninety days, amounts to a total of 2.8 million euros.
The new facilities were put to use at their formal opening, which took place on 12th March 2008. Among the many guests at this event were Luka Koper’s business partners, service providers and representatives of state authorities. The ceremony was also attended by Slovenia’s Minister of the Economy, Mr Andrej Vizjak, who, in his address, placed emphasis on the significance of Luka Koper to the entire Slovene economy. Robert Časar, President of the Luka Koper Management Board, also spoke at the opening:
“These new facilities at the Fruit Terminal, which are today being put to use, account for only a minor portion of the massive investment programme on which our company has embarked, and which it intends to complete in just a few years. All these investments are aimed at further strengthening Luka Koper’s position of as a premier European port…”
Over recent years, an increasing amount of fruit and vegetables originating from the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean pass through Koper on their way to European markets. The total throughput of perishable goods, which in recent years amounted to about 100,000 tonnes per annum, is anticipated to increase considerably this year. The mere throughput of bananas during the first two months of 2008 amounted to 25,000 tonnes, which is the same as last year's annual total. In addition to the Slovene market, bananas from the Port of Koper are supplied to Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Italy and Romania.