In order for Croatia to be competitive in transport in the Rijeka-Zagreb-Budapest route and for the Rijeka Port to be able to compete with Koper Port in Slovenia, answers need to be found for numerous challenges that are dictated by contemporary transport systems because total transit time and costs are important for end users, heard a discussion at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) on Monday.
Four times as much cargo is reloaded in Koper than Rijeka. It is better connected to the railway infrastructure with five railway lines compared with Rijeka's two lines as well as having lower prices. If Rijeka Port wishes to be competitive it will have to be better connected with the hinterland. Operational problems and bottlenecks have to be solved, Jakov Karmelic of the CMA CMC Croatia shipping agency, said.
"End users are interested in total transit time and transport costs. Croatia has comparative advantages and these need to serve as the basis to build a competitive advantage," Karmelic said at the panel discussion entitled "Through concerted effort to competitive transport routes."
Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure Oleg Butkovic underscored the need to construct a lowland railway between Rijeka and Zagreb, adding that the economy cannot succeed without transport.
"It is vital that all stakeholders in transport are coordinated because that is the only way to raise the competitiveness of Croatian companies. There can be no transport without a developed and modern infrastructure. Without an organised transportation there can be no trade or production or a successful economy," Butkovic said, adding that Croatia has to utilise the opportunity to absorb European funds for transport development.
Butkovic announced that the government would soon adopt a strategic decision with regard to the Rijeka-Zagreb lowland railway.