The Czech Republic, also called Czechia is a landlocked nation in the heartland of central Europe, surrounded by Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia. Although the country boasts a prosperous, and high-income economy resting on the services and manufacturing sectors.
The nation has many ports and terminals however due to its geographical position, it depends on the ports of neighbouring nations such as the Port of Hamburg and Antwerp for carrying out its international trade.
Many rivers flow through Czechia however the inland river port network is concentrated on the Elbe through which cargo is transported in the hinterland as well as to seaports of its neighbours via railways for export. However, Elbe is not navigable throughout the year, hence the government has undertaken waterways expansion projects.
According to the 2019 Economic Complexity Index, Czechia’s economy ranked 45th in the world in terms of GDP. Major export products were cars, computers, automobiles and machine parts sent to Germany, Poland, France, Britain and Slovakia. It was the largest exporter of Spring and Gas Guns too. The country imports oil, petroleum goods, fuels, chemicals, packaged food etc from EU nations, China, Japan and Russia.
It is estimated that the nation’s economy would grow manifold if its maritime water network is strengthened further. Let us have a look at the main inland ports of the Czech Republic.
Usti Nad Labem Port
The Port of Usti Nad Labem lies on the left shores of the river Elbe and deals in shipments of diverse cargoes such as palletized and agricultural goods, steel, metallic sheets, minerals etc. Apart from these items, engineering goods, glass, ceramics and textile products, fertilisers, soaps, varnish, etc manufactured in the port city are also famous items of export, shipped to major European nations. The port’s major trade destinations include Holland, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria, Poland and France.
It spans 32 hectares with a total storage space covering 7,400m2. It is equipped with the latest port equipment such as mobile and quay cranes of varying capacities ranging from 15 to 40 tonnes. It also comprises a 13,500 m2 transhipment area for containers, connected to roadways, railways and waterways, offering container inspection, storage, packaging and repair services. A customs clearance office is also present on the port premises.
This facility offers other services such as loading and unloading of substrates from trains, docking etc. Port property such as administrative offices, storage spaces etc is offered for rent to private companies on a periodic lease.
The port city was founded in the 10th century however it gained prominence in the 20th century. During World War II years, it grew as an industrial and commercial town with the development of Usti Nad Labem port, mainly to transport military shipments. Since then, further exploration and establishment of coal mining, laying new navigational routes and expansion of railway networks led to the growing importance of this port.
Port of Praha Radotin
The Port of Praha Radotin lies on the left coast of the river Bernouka. It is owned and operated by the government, engaging in the maritime transportation of construction equipment, substrates, gravel, stone, sand etc. The importance of this port can be gauged as it lies on the biggest tributary of the country’s main river the Vltava, which flows through neighbouring Germany as well.
It is a fully functional facility that operates all days of the year. Although it is a busy commercial port, it spans only 2 hectares with limited port equipment comprising 2 gantry cranes and a reach stacker and a forklift.
Administrative buildings, a small parking lot for cars, a fenced yard for parking trucks, a track for parking cranes, and small manufacturing units are situated near the dock. The port offers storage space and warehouses for rent to private enterprises.
The paved storage space is rented to Vlk Enterprise which utilises it for storing its finished products and other raw material. Apart from the main berth, the other port areas are used for dealing with containers and other conventional bulk cargoes.
The port can accommodate 6 big ships at a time and 2 small boats, however, the docks need to be widened as goods traffic has slightly increased at this port. The government plans to develop it into a cargo handling facility, at par with global port standards.
The port project has envisaged the expansion of the port area, increasing the number of berths and development of the region as a logistics hub, as it is close to the capital Prague. The authorities plan to tap on the region’s natural beauty by constructing a cruise facility at the port. One berth dedicated to pleasure crafts, yachts and small fishing vessels would also be constructed.
Port of Kolin
The Kolin port is situated on the left coast of the river Elbe and covers more than 6 hectares. Kolin lies in an important industrial zone, known for the manufacturing units of TPCA automobile company. Hence, Kolin has witnessed rapid growth and expansion in recent years, with the port project being financed by the European Union.
A transshipment yard was constructed at this public port which became operational in 2020, offering terminal services. It is operated by the port operator T-port. A 685 m railway track connecting the yard with the main railway was built, along with the acquisition of two transtainers with a loading capacity of 50 tonnes and three tractors. A fully automated surveillance system was installed to maintain the security and efficiency of port operations. New port equipment was ordered including 2 forklifts and trailers for lifting containers.
Apart from the terminal yard, a designated storage area was also constructed near the railway tracks spanning 115 m, which includes 2 warehouses and a large open space. An administrative office building, a gas and fueling station were also constructed.
Port of Melnik
Situated on the right coastline of Elbe river, Melnik port is owned by the government and serves both commercial ships, cargo carriers and cruise ships, small boats and yachts. This facility deals with shipments of agricultural goods, construction materials and loose substrates, chemicals, iron, containerised goods etc.
The port spans 41.5 hectares and comprises 37 wharves that can accommodate around 72 vessels. A Logistics centre near the premises eases port operations, offering container packaging, repair, maintenance services and cargo tracking.
Administrative offices, storage facilities, paved spaces, parking lots, designated container storage areas etc have been developed at Melnik port. Most of the storage space has been leased to two private companies for handling containers. The port’s transhipment area is operated by Ceske Pristavy, a port operating company.
This expansive port has fully operational port equipment such as a crane with a loading capacity of 300 tonnes, a gantry crane with a capacity of 10 tonnes, 3 rail cranes, forklifts and also reach stackers.
The port’s warehouses store all kinds of goods including hazardous substances. The three warehouses cover more than 6000m2. The first warehouse has a bridge crane for loading and unloading piece goods and machine parts. It is easily accessible by trains and trucks. The second warehouse stores only containerised goods and possess reach stackers. The third warehouse has ramps and handles piece goods and other cargoes.
Another warehouse near one of the berths is used for storing steel and steel pipes, coils, stones such as granite, marble, etc. A covered storage space spanning 21,000 m2 is used for keeping bulk cargoes.
The port of Prague Smíchov
Prague Smíchov port is an ice-free facility, operating 365 days of the year. Lying on the left coast of Czechia’s longest river, Vltava it covers around 13 hectares. The port has an entrance channel on the northern side of the Vltava riverbed and handles shipments of automobiles, electronic items, chemicals, tires metals, auto parts etc, that are manufactured in Prague.
The port can easily accommodate 35 vessels at once during summers. In winters, due to the presence of icebergs, the port also acts as a protective facility for commercial and cruise ships and handles more than 45 vessels that dock at its numerous berths.
While it is a commercial port, some of its berths are dedicated to small pleasure boats, yachts and cruises as the region is a popular tourist destination. Floating piers and facilities for mooring these recreational vessels are available in the southern part of the port. 2 lounges or waiting rooms for passengers have been built, endowed with basic amenities. There is also a fueling point in the port premises.
The main port area comprises a commercial quay measuring more than 600 m, utilised for shipping bulk cargoes and substrates. On the other side are numerous warehouses, roads and railway tracks for carrying out loading and unloading operations. The port also comprises a transhipment yard, paved storage space and uncovered space for storing excess cargoes.
Port of Decin
The Decin port is one of the smaller harbours in the Czech Republic, known as a famous tourist destination, apart from handling meagre maritime trade. Lying on the river Elbe, this port has developed as a resort over the years. It is visited by more than 70,000 tourists every year who anchor their yachts or cruise vessels at the Decin wharf. This river port is directly connected to the capital Prague by railways and roads.
Functioning as a pleasure port, Decin is crucial for the country’s economy and its flourishing tourism sector. The region’s scenic beauty and Decin’s renowned mediaeval castle attracts many to this small and serene port city, also known for its lush green valleys and picturesque rocks and hills.
The city of Decin lies in the northwestern part of the nation, adjacent to the border of Germany. It is not heavily populated and houses only 45,000 inhabitants. However, it comprises numerous small industries at its periphery such as metalworks, paper, textiles and chemicals whose finished products are transported to neighbouring regions and local markets through the Decin port.
This is an important terminal facility in Czechia situated in the Logistics area, in Parubdice city. It offers container storage and customs inspection services. It also handles large consignments delivered at the terminal’s warehouses from railway wagons.
A warehouse spanning more than 4500 m2 is used for container storage. Another uncovered space is utilised for keeping empty container boxes. The terminal is equipped with three forklifts with varying lifting capacities ranging from 35 to 50 tonnes and the latest container scanning system.
A redevelopment project at the terminal plans to increase the length of the track and to expand the handling area to 13,500 m2. This would increase the terminal’s container handling capacity.
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