On Friday, 21st March, Beltinci Castle in Northeast Slovenia was the venue for the formal signing of a letter of intent on the establishment of the Pannonia Regional Distribution Centre. In addition to Mr Robert Časar, President of Luka Koper Management Board, the co-signatories were Mr Janez Podobnik, Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning, Mr Radovan Žerjav, Minister of Transport, Mr Andrej Vizjak, Slovenia’s Minister of Economy (he signed the letter prior to the event), Mr Milan Kerman, Mayor of Beltinci Municipality, and Mr Anton Balažek, the Mayor of Lendava Municipality.
The concept behind the establishment of this new international logistics and distribution centre in Slovenia’s Prekmurje region is a consequence of Luka Koper ‘s growing requirements, and the fact that Slovene Pomurje lies directly between the company's most important markets – Austria and Hungary. The centre will also allow Luka Koper to supply customers in both these territories in accordance with the just-in-time principle; furthermore, shippers servicing the aforementioned markets via the Port of Koper have exhibited a huge interest in this idea from the very outset.
The ideal 60-hectare site located at the old Lek plant in Lipovci near Beltinci, already meets a great many of the necessary communications and infrastructure requirements. The Pannonia terminal will encompass enclosed and open storage facilities, two rail sidings linked to the nearby main line to Hungary, truck parking, maintenance workshops and administrative premises. The anticipated investment in the purchase of this land and construction of the requisite infrastructure shall amount to some € 20 million, and the Centre’s development will be similar to the Sežana one (operated by subsidiary company Adria terminali), i.e. the storage facilities will be built according to the requirements of business partners. Another facility at the border crossing to Hungary at nearby Lendava is also anticipated to become part of the Pannonia operation. This 30-hectare site is particularly interesting due to its already constructed but unexploited infrastructure. We expect annual cargo throughput will reach 30,000 TEUs (some 600,000 tonnes of goods) per annum within five years of its opening. This means also more free space and warehousing capacities in the port and will consequently enable more maritime throughput. The Distribution Center will take over about 10% of the total container traffic of Luka Koper. Construction work at Beltinci will commence immediately upon the acquisition of all permits, most likely during the second half of 2009.