By Karen E. Thuermer, AJOT
The globalization of world trade, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania’s membership in the EU in 2004, and Russia’s strengthening economy based on world demand for energy are major factors impacting improved logistics and transportation systems in Europe’s Baltic and Nordic regions.
While the Port of Rotterdam operates as Europe’s primary entry point for goods from Asia, logistics in the Nordics and the Baltics is intensifying. The transport of goods from Central Europe to the Baltics and Russia has accelerated given the decrease in the number of border crossings.
Baltic port developments
Poland’s ports of Gdynia and Gdansk benefit from improvements in their accessibility by ocean, rail and road. A container terminal with a planned annual throughput of one million teus is underway at the Port of Gdansk.
Lithuania has solidified its position as a gateway for distribution to Russia and the Baltic states via its Port of Klaipeda. The port is in close proximity to the industrial hinterlands of Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine. Last year the port handled a record 23.55 million tons of cargo, an increase of 8% over 2005 figures.
Direct links to Moscow via the container train ‘Mercury’ gives the Port of Klaipeda added advantages. Launched last year as an international project organized by Lithuania, Russia and Lithuania railways, the train runs from Lithuania to Moscow. This 1,335 kilometer route is feasible in 46 hours. Its 1,288 kilometer route between Kaliningrad and Moscow takes 50 hours.
Those carriers that utilize ‘Mercury’ are offered door-to-door services, thereby giving cargo consignors and consignees the ability to choose the most suitable model of the logistics chain.
A new container terminal being built by Finland’s Containerships Ltd. will come to the St. Petersburg’s region in late 2007. Containerships is investing $35 million to construct the terminal in Yasino. In February 2006, the authorities of the St. Petersburg region approved building a $70 million intermodal complex for container cargo handling and logistics terminals in Yasino. The project was initiated by Containerships East LLC (a subsidiary of Containerships, Ltd).
Germany’s Rostock offers access
Germany benefits from booming trade with the Baltic and Nordic regions. Last year 26.8 million tons of cargo moved through the Seaport of Rostock. The total cargo throughput volume at the Rostock seaport increased to 25.2 million tons in 2006, an increase of 2.3 million tons (10%) over 2005.
‘This is a new cargo throughput record for us,’ says Ulrich Bauermeister, managing director, Hafen-Entwicklungsgesellschaft Rostock.
With a gross area of more than 7.5 million square meters, Rostock’s seaport is one of Germany’s largest as well as deepest Baltic Sea ports. With a total quay length of more than 9,000 meters and 43 berths, the port handles diverse cargoes from various vessel types including ro/ro, breakbulk, bulk cargo and chemicals. Ferry and roll-on/roll-off (ro/ro) cargo accounted for 60% of Rostock’s total cargo throughput in 2006 with 15.3 million tons of rolling cargo recorded, up 1.3 million tons from 2005 figures.
Key to continued growth at the port are various logistics centers that continue to be developed around the port. Lidl logistics center is located in the ‘Hafenvorgel’nde Ost’ industrial park in Rostock. Some 65 stores in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg are supplied from this logistics center. With its ports, its prime location between major cities, and its excellent traffic infrastructure, Rostock provides ideal conditions for this logistics center.
In January, Schenker opened its new logistics center at the Seaport of Rostock. The port’s outstanding infrastructure and large number of ferry lines and ro/ro capabilities were the decisive factors leading to Schenker’s choosing the seaport for its new facility.
“This strategically significant investment in an additional multimodal interface between the different carrie