The Republic of Slovenia is an independent country situated in Central Europe. It is also the richest Slavic nation in terms of GDP and has a prosperous economy resting on the services sector, and a strong manufacturing and industrial sector which employs the majority of its population.
The country’s strategic location on important international maritime routes, a skilled workforce and highly developed infrastructure are key drivers of economic progress.
The country’s major industries include automobiles, electric equipment, machinery, fuel and pharmaceuticals such as Gorenje, pharma companies like Krka and Lek, oil company Petrol Group and energy company Gen-I.
Bordering the Adriatic sea to the southwest, Slovenia has a diverse topography including mountain ranges, valleys and inland rivers. The Pan European corridor that links Adriatic, Central and Eastern Europe pass through this country giving it a distinguished socio-economic position.
It has a mild Mediterranean climate which makes it a much-loved vacation destination. Slovenia earns significant revenue from its flourishing tourism sector which is a major contributor to the GDP. The country has only one major commercial port called Koper while it has numerous marinas, harbours and cruise ship terminals.
The majority of the country’s trade is carried through the international waterways. It exports packaged goods, cars, refined petroleum, automobile parts and electrical equipment to Germany, Italy, Austria, France and Croatia and receives shipments of transport equipment, chemicals, fuels, lubricants and packaged foodstuff from EU Countries and Russia.
1. Port of Koper
Koper port is situated on the southwestern coast of Slovenia on the Adriatic Sea near the Italian border. Slovenia’s biggest container port, Koper, is also a crucial seaport for the landlocked nations of Central Europe. Possessing a well-protected harbour and facilities for handling general cargo, container goods, bulk, roro etc, the port handles the majority of Slovenian international trade since it is the main point of entry into Slovenia. The biggest ship to berth at Koper was the Chi Hirokawa Maru, weighing 224,666 DWT with a draught of 17 m. The port is frequented by 2300 ships carrying 16,000,000 tonnes of cargo and over 6000 TEU every year.
The port’s container handling facility comprises 3 wharves stretching 600 m with a draft of 11 m with a storage capacity of 12,500 TEU. The terminal covers 200,000 sq m having 350 reefer connections and 125,000 sq m of storage area. The terminal is equipped with the latest port equipment such as three Panamax cranes, nine rubber-tired cranes, ten forklifts and trailers.
It also offers efficient services to its customers such as container stripping and stuffing. Since Covid 19 began, the terminal provides disinfection and steam cleaning services for containers destined to the Far East and Mediterranean ports.
The port’s RORO terminal contains 7 berths spanning 850 m for handling automobiles, especially cars. It has a six-storeyed building capable of accommodating 6000 cars. Equipped with 5 RORO ramps and 7 railway ramps, the terminal also has 800,00 sq m of open storage space for keeping 50,000 cars. Around 600,000 cars are handled at the terminal each year.
Koper port’s fruit terminal deals with bananas, citrus fruits, dairy products, frozen fish and processed meat. The warehouses are equipped with automated temperature control systems for keeping the agricultural produce fresher for longer periods. It comprises three berths covering 500 m capable of accommodating 2000 tonnes every month.
Koper Timber Terminal
The port’s timber facility deals with sawn wood and wooden products on its three berths decked with 60,000 sq m of warehouse space and 59,000 sq m of open storage space for keeping timber. The terminal handles 1,000,000 m3 of timber each year.
This facility deals with minerals and bulk such as cement, bauxite, clinker, perlite, ilmenite, scrap, and magnesite on its 550 m long berths with a water depth of 12 m. The terminal can store 45,000 tonnes and has a covered storage space spanning 5000 sq m.
This terminal handles cereals, legumes, soy, seeds and packaged food. It comprises 4 berths with a total quay length of 600 m. The facility can accommodate 60,000 tonnes.
The 250 m long berth deals with a sandy kind of alumina using a conveyor belt system that empties the alumina into a 25,000-tonne capacity silo.
The port’s energy terminal deals with coal and iron on its 4 berths covering 700 m. Equipped with two gantry and bridge cranes, the terminal can accommodate Panamax and Capesize ships with a draft of 17.5 m. It can store around 500,000 tonnes of coal and 350,000 tonnes of iron ore. The port authority Luka Koper D.D strictly adheres to environmental regulations and has a system for minimising dust.
Liquid Bulk Terminal
The liquid bulk terminal has specialised facilities for dealing with chemicals and vegetable oils. Incorporating 42 storage tanks with a capacity ranging from 310 to 20,000 m3. It also has 25 shore tanks and 9 steel tanks. The terminal also has 3 additional berths for handling hazardous liquids.
Koper port’s livestock handling facility offers a range of services. It has numerous wharves with specialised equipment for washing and disinfecting the animals. It also has 17 loading-trucks, multiple trailers and a separate berth possessing three stables with a capacity of accommodating 1300 cattle.
Cruise ship terminal
Given the scenic beauty of Slovenia, it is a famous vacation spot hence the Koper port has two passenger berths for receiving cruises, yachts and pleasure crafts coming from the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas. The passenger terminal is a modern facility with a beautiful marina, cafes, restaurants and resorts offering a pleasurable experience. More than 100 cruise ships visit the port every year carrying more than 50,000 tourists.
2. Port of Piran
The Piran port is an ancient coastal town lying south of the Punta Madonna in the Gulf of Piran on the Adriatic Sea. It is a well-sheltered natural harbour protected by a southwestern breakwater and a northwestern pier breakwater. It is not a cargo handling facility but a renowned cruise destination. More than 1000 ships make port calls to the Piran harbour’s ferry and cruise terminals.
The magnificent historical coastal town of Piran has many attractions including its well-preserved mediaeval architectural buildings, gothic style churches and rich cultural heritage depicted in its museums, art exhibitions and street graffiti. Not to forget, the port city’s marina is the most visited place by water-sports enthusiasts since it offers a plethora of activities such as sailing, snorkelling, diving etc.
In the early historic period, the town was inhabited by IIIyrian-Histri tribes who were traditionally farmers and fishermen; however, it was then incorporated into the Roman Empire which accounts for its vivid stone-paved streets and archaeological wealth.
The ferry terminal has 30 berths with mooring lines capable of accommodating small ferries with a maximum draught of 5 m and length of 35 m. The terminal is operated by two companies, the Trieste lines and Venezia Lines with ferry routes plying to and from the cities of Venice, Porec, Pula, and Trieste. In summers, three to six ferries operate to and from Croatia towns. Another famous spot is the Tartinijev Trg which functioned as the inner harbour till the late 18th century.
3. Port of Izola
Izola is a fishing port on Slovenia’s short yet crowded northern coastline on the Gulf of Trieste. It is the site of an ancient fishing harbour that has been built into a large and modern marina with 700 moorings and over 500 small berths for accommodating luxury yachts and cruise ships coming from Croatia, Italy, Germany etc.
A beautiful waterfront and the town’s Gothic Church are the most famous attractions apart from the narrow stone-lined alleyways and Roman fountains, a result of the port city’s Venetian and Roman influence.
The marina is equipped with a freshwater supply, electricity, wifi, fuel facilities, repair and maintenance of cruises and fishing vessels etc. Many hotels and resorts overlooking the marina offer a calm and memorable experience to travellers. The fishing dock offers visitors a unique chance to observe the fishermen at work and buy fresh seafood. People can relax at the port town’s sandy beach or participate in water sports contests held regularly. Sightseeing trips or cycling and hiking trips are planned frequently.
Having a pleasant climate throughout the year, Izola is also comparatively cheaper than Piran. It is also less populated, quite affordable and just an hour’s drive from the nearest Trieste international airport.
4. Marina Portorož
It is one of the biggest and most prominent marinas situated in the North Adriatic Sea providing maritime access to Slovenia, Croatia and Italy. Its geographical location in the central European heartland makes it an intermodal facility well connected with the Slovenian national railway and road network. Portoroz Marina is the proud holder of the Blue Star Marina 5 star certificate.
The largest Slovenian marina has 667 berths out of which 297 berths lie in the channel of Fazan and 310 dry wharves are located inland. The navigation channel to the marina’s entrance is 22 m broad and 4 m deep.
The port is operational 365 days a year and is well equipped with modern port technology, basic amenities like electricity and fresh water supply, a strict security system, a huge parking area, and a waste disposal plant including recycling facilities.
A small local food market and a gas station are also located on the premises along with comfortable waiting rooms endowed with high-speed wifi. Berthing assistance, boat maintenance, workshop services and warehouse rental services are also offered.
The port also provides yachts for rent. Trainers and professionals aid tourists in yachting, sailing and diving. Marina Portoroz is an island that also has a beach bar, a resort, and a camping group while the island itself can be booked for numerous occasions.
5. Lucija Marina
Lying on the shores of the coastal town of Piran, the Lucija Marina is a famous tourist spot having more than a thousand berths for mooring boats and yachts. It offers the best services to professional boaters and sailors. Numerous sailing and yachting competitions with exciting prizes are held regularly and attended by thousands of people. It also hosts the famous Internautica boat event which is world-famous.
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Disclaimer: The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendations on any course of action to be followed by the reader.
Shilavadra Bhattacharjee is a shipbroker with a background in commercial operations after having sailed onboard as a Third Officer. His interests primarily lie in the energy sector, books and travelling.