Zagreb, September 15, 2011 – Tomislav Batur, Executive Director of the Port of Ploce Authority, and Hongjoo Hahm, World Bank Country Manager, signed yesterday the Additional Financing Loan Agreement in the amount of € 50 million (US$ 66.92 million equivalent) for the ongoing Trade and Transport Integration Project (TTI). The Minister of Finance, H.E. Martina Dalic also signed the Guarantee Agreement with the Bank for the loan.
The Trade and Transport Integration Project aims to foster trade along Corridor Vc, by improving infrastructure capacity through the construction of a container and a bulk cargo terminal at the Port of Ploce. Corridor Vc is an important Pan-European Transport Corridor connecting the EU with the Southeast European region, running from the Port of Ploce through Bosnia and Herzegovina into Hungary. The Project is also helping increase private sector involvement in the port to improve the efficiency and the quality of services of the port. The Additional Financing will help scale up the bulk cargo terminal to meet increasing demand.
The project has been under implementation since 2007 achieving notable results. The container terminal has been constructed and operational since August 2010, increasing the annual container terminal capacity from 17,000 TEU in 2005 to 60,000 TEU today. The construction of the bulk cargo terminal will start in November 2011 and once completed will be able to handle 4.6 million tons of cargo annually and accommodate larger ships. Concessions for both the container and the bulk terminal were signed in January 2010, followed by a successful capital increase by Luka Ploce d.d., reducing state ownership in the Port of Ploce from 62 percent to 20 percent. These activities have helped the corridor through Ploce become more price competitive, as compared with alternative corridors.
“We are pleased to be able to support the Government and the Port of Ploce in modernizing and scaling up operations for this important European gateway, especially during these difficult economic times. We look forward to the completion of the investments in the port which will not only attract more traffic to the Port but contribute to the overall improvement of the Croatian and Bosnian and Herzegovinian economies.” said Hongjoo Hahm, World Bank Country Manager for Croatia.
Since joining the World Bank in 1993, Croatia has benefited from financial and technical assistance, policy advice, and analytical services. To date, the World Bank has supported 47 projects in an amount above US$ 3.3 billion, and approved 52 grants with a total value of US$70 million.