PORT INFRASTRUCTURE: EBRD Finances Expansion of Ferry and Cruiser Port in Split
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will finance the expansion of ferry and cruise passenger operations to support the growing tourism industry in central Dalmatia, including cruiser tourism. The €18.8 million sovereign guaranteed loan to the Split Port Authority to extend and reconfigure the passenger wharves. Zsuzsanna Hargitaj, Director of EBRD Croatia, and Finance Minister Slavko Linic (SDP) signed a mutual guarantee contract for the loan over 15 years with an interest rate of 2.5%.
Presently, Split is unable to benefit from growing cruise traffic due to its inadequate berthing infrastructure – the extension and rehabilitation of the wharves will increase capacity to enable the handling of large and medium-sized ships and relieve congestion at existing ferry berths. The project will also enable the Port of Split to become the first cruise port member of EcoPort in the Adriatic Sea and the first port to receive Port Environmental Review System (PERS) certification in the EBRD region. This is an opportunity for Split and Croatia to further develop its infrastructure and facilities to support the increase of cruiser tourism, including increasing Croatia’s tourism competitiveness by lobbying to become a cruiser home port destination for the Adriatic Sea and the wider Mediterranean.
Along with previous support of port infrastructure upgrades in Sibenik and Dubrovnik, this is an integral part of EBRD’s wider strategy of supporting the growth of tourism in Croatia. Since the beginning of its operations in Croatia, the EBRD has invested over €2.6 billion in the country in about 140 projects, mobilising about €4.3 billion for those projects from other sources of financing. The loan will finance the construction of two new wharves, with the capacity for ships up to 270 m and 320 m, two 28 m wide docking ramps, and other auxiliary facilities. The construction is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2015 tourism season. Earlier this month, Hartigaj presented EBRD’s 2013-2015 strategy for Croatia, announcing yearly investments of €200-300 million, emphasising the long-term support of public company restructuring and generally investing in the Croatian economy…