A container terminal operator in Klaipeda has secured loans totaling 65 million euros ($85.15 million) to finance the transformation of the Lithuanian port into a regional hub for the Baltic and Russian markets.
The London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Swedish bank Skandinasviska Enskilda Banken are each providing half the funds for the expansion of Klaipedos Smelte, a subsidiary of global port operator Terminal Investment Limited.
Klaipeda, the most northerly ice-free deep-water port on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, is currently served by feeder ships shuttling to and from major Northwest European hubs, including Bremerhaven, Hamburg and Rotterdam.
Increasing Klaipeda’s container capacity will allow mainline vessels to call directly at the port and enable it to become a transhipment point for the Baltic region, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, the EBRD said.
“Direct calls of deep sea container ships to Klaipeda will eventually bring the entire setup of logistics services in the region to another level,” according to Klaipedos Smelte CEO Rimantas Juska.
Terminal Link, a close affiliate of Geneva-based ocean carrier Mediterranean Shipping Co., said the EBRD’s involvement in the project played a key role in mobilizing commercial banks to invest in the sector.
“Commercial banks are getting nowadays so much risk averse that the existence of institutions like the EBRD is a blessing for these kind of heavy infrastructure investments,” said TIL financial chief officer Tom Van Eynde.