Construction starts on Maersk’s EUR 380 mln state-of-the-art terminal in Rijeka

A momentous occasion in the history of the Port of Rijeka, Croatia, unfolded on Wednesday, September 13, as the ground-breaking ceremony officially marked the commencement of construction for the highly anticipated Rijeka Gateway terminal.

Image credit: APM Terminals

Destined to become the most advanced and remote-controlled container terminal in this region of Europe, the Rijeka Gateway terminal project, is hailed as the largest investment ever undertaken by the Port of Rijeka.

The terminal is being developed as a joint venture between Maersk’s terminal arm APM Terminals as the 66th terminal in the company’s portfolio and Croatian investor ENNA Logic, owned by Enna Group.

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The container terminal is scheduled to start operating in 2025 and the total investment is 380 million euros. More than 200 million euros will be invested in the first phase over the next two years, and an additional 180 million euros are planned for the second phase within the next 10 years.

APM Terminals said Rijeka Gateway will be the most modern, state-of-the-art, remote-controlled container terminal in this part of Europe. Namely, the terminal will feature a high level of automation and digitisation with the aim of bolstering safety.

It is also envisioned as the only port in the Adriatic region using advanced technological solutions and remote systems. The plan for the terminal also includes the acquisition of predominantly electric equipment with the aim of becoming net zero by 2040.

With a 50-year concession period, the terminal is aimed at serving as a main entry point to hinterland countries and markets.

It will also have a key role in the development of the local economy, as most project contracts are, and will continue to be, fulfilled by local and domestic companies. Therefore, this project is of strategic importance for Croatia.

The construction of the terminal will have a positive impact on the local economy. With increased economic activity and engagement of local partners, more than 300 new jobs are expected to be created within the terminal alone, whilst indirect employment in the region will be many times higher. In addition, Rijeka Gateway will be the first port on the Adriatic with remote-controlled, electrical container cranes, and with a quay depth of 20 meters, we are ready to welcome some of the world’s largest container vessels“, said Koen Benders, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board of Rijeka Gateway.

In the first phase, we will be able to process a total of 650,000 TEU annually, and we expect growth to over a million TEU per year in the next phase. And in the long run, we expect that those numbers will keep on growing. We estimate in 2026, the fiscal contribution to the state will be around 100 million euros, growing up to 200 million euros after 2030. Our commitment extends towards being a responsible corporation and we also consider sustainability by implementing state-of-the-art technologies to minimize our carbon footprint“, said Tomislav Žunić, the CFO and Management Board Member of Rijeka Gateway.

One of the future customers of the terminal is Danish container shipping major Maersk.

Namely, once completed, the new terminal will have a berth length of 400 metres (680 metres after completion of Phase 2) and will be equipped with three ship-to-shore (STS) cranes (four in total with Phase 2).

These cranes, believed to be the largest currently available in the market, will make Rijeka Gateway capable of serving vessels of up to 24,000 TEUs.

Aymeric Chandavoine, President of Europe A.P. Moller – Maersk, reaffirmed Maersk’s strong commitment to Croatia by saying that Maersk has been present in the Croatian market since 2004.

As explained, once completed, Rijeka Gateway is expected to provide new opportunities by significantly reducing transit times to the Adriatic and Central European markets. Thanks to its rail connectivity with the hinterland it will open a new logistics chapter for Croatia and the region.

Within Rijeka Gateway, there is a strong belief that the two-line railway towards Rijeka will be recognized by the Croatian government as a project of crucial interest. This plan aims to improve Rijeka’s connectivity with Central Europe, reduce traffic congestion, and further stimulate the economic growth of the region.

Rijeka Gateway will contribute to the long-term positioning of the port of Rijeka as a transport hub and include Croatia on the transport and economic map of the world. This will make a contribution to the economic development of Rijeka and Croatia in general. All this is possible if there is a spirit of partnership between the Government, local and regional authorities. That makes this “Rijeka story” – a story of success“, stated Josip Bilaver, the envoy of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia and State Secretary in the Ministry of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure.