Ports are an important part of economic activity in coastal areas. The greater the annual flow of merchandise and passengers, the more infrastructure and similar services are needed for the local and regional economy and the environment to benefit from to varied extents. Ports are also important as support to economic activities in the hinterland, as they act as a crucial link between inland and maritime transport, and have not only an economic but also a social function.
Maritime transport is strategically important for Croatia
Maritime ports play an important role in facilitating the European Union's foreign trade and internal market exchange, and provide services to many other industrial sectors. These ports are the nodes of intermodal logistic chains crucial for sustainable transport growth in Europe, and good port services are crucial for strengthening the competitiveness of European export companies on world markets. In most EU member states, more goods transported by sea are unloaded from vessels than they are loaded on vessels. Croatia and Cyprus had the greatest percentage of unloaded goods in 2018, 74% and 72% of the total tonnes of goods entering their ports, respectively. In 2018, of all the goods that passed through its main ports, (in tonnes), Croatia recorded the largest amount of liquid goods (58,6%), which mostly reflects a great deal of movement of raw oil from Russia and Turkey. Most maritime passenger transport in the EU takes place between ports situated in the same country (61%), with this percentage referring to two leading maritime passenger countries, Italy and Greece, as well as Croatia.
Institut IGH – leading design and supervision experts in the construction of Croatian ports
In the past years, Institut IGH as project developer, took part in several strategically important and engaging projects involving Croatian ports. The “New Port of Zadar” project in Gaženica, whose construction began in 2009 and ended at the beginning of 2020, including the construction of a new cruiser port, fishermen port and container terminal. This was a great leap forward in the development of the Zadar County. This project, worth HRK 140 million, included the relocation of the ferry port from the center of Zadar to the town outskirts with better transport connections, including development of the architectural design and complete preliminary designs, detailed designs and working designs, as well as obtaining all required permits for the main terminal building. Institut IGH, as leading consortium member, was in charge of design development, obtaining all required permits as well as conducting expert supervision services during all phases of the construction.
“The greatest challenge was creating a spatially functional composition that both unites and clearly separates and steers passenger and vehicle traffic flows while implementing Schengen/NonSchengen safety protocols and ISPS Code safety regulations, all within a budget defined very rationally by the Client. The port includes island, coastal and international ship and ferry lines. The quays are over 300m long and can accept even the largest cruisers with 2500 passengers. This is why the building was created primarily with function in mind, while bringing together many different users and purposes such as: national ferry transport, with unlimited access for all passengers; international ferry transport, departure and arrival ports for cruisers, and continuous international travel for passengers and vehicles all with an appropriate control regime. The applied solutions guaranteed the required energy efficiency, protection of human life, health and environment. The facade was made as a traditional, stone-like structure with modern glassy elements and canopies. “The glass on the facade clearly steers people located outside the building to their preferred areas within the building, depending on their needs,” said Berislav Krtalić, designer of the Zadar Port's central terminal building.
International recognitions for Gaženica
In the last 12 years, all the planned, integral works on the construction of the new Zadar Port in Gaženica were implemented in 3 lots: implementation of maritime works (underwater excavation, backfilling and the setting up of a secondary breakwater), coastal works, construction of quays and the main breakwater, construction of access roads, passenger terminal building and the construction of coastal walls of the container terminal towards the freight sector of the port. The Gaženica Port works also included construction of 1900m of docks with 12 berths for local, cruiser and international ferry transport, 1420m of coastline, and 300m of docks for the new fishing port. For the purposes of inland connections, 80.000 m2 of internal roads and 2,5 km of access roads with the accompanying infrastructure were made. The central terminal building was also constructed as a multifunctional facility with all the equipment and amenities necessary for the Zadar-Gaženica ferry terminal to function. In addition, the project won several awards, which serve as testament to its quality. After the Zadar Cruise Port and the Passenger Port Gaženica won the „Port of the Year“ award at the 2019 Seatrade Europe, a prestigious European convention, the port also won the Cruise Insight 2020 award, stressing excellence and the progress made in the construction of the new terminal in the previous year.
Institut IGH has a rich history in developing maritime ports designs. In the past, our departments and regional centers provided a large number of services on maritime projects such as: research, works and materials testing, design development in various phases of works, consulting services, expert supervision and other services. In the last several decades, Institut IGH took part in the development of practically all large port infrastructure projects in Croatia (Dubrovnik, Ploče, Split, Šibenik, Zadar, Rijeka).
Aside from taking part in developmental projects of large maritime ports, Institut IGH is also a permanent, long-lasting partner of the county and local port authorities along the Adriatic coast when it comes to supervision and maintenance. In the words of Vedrana Tudor, member of Institut IGH's Management: “The quality and breadth of our services and key experts, as well as the experts' flexibility and availability throughout the Adriatic coast, ensures that IGH is a leading engineering company when it comes to projects involving maritime facilities. An example of one such collaboration is ACI, which manages 22 marines all over the Croatian coast and for whom we have long supervised maintenance and investments. We are also a trusted partner of many a port authority throughout the entire Adriatic coast for whom we provide engineering services. For example, in the case of the Port of Rijeka, we have been hired to help develop the port itself. There is also the Port of Ploče, our long-standing, important client, for whom we helped develop the container terminal, the bulk cargo terminal, the entire entry terminal facility, and where we recently, took part in the urgent intervention on the repair of the tanker berth. Finally, the company worked on the Port of Split where the construction of a fishing port in the Brižine basin in Kašteli is being completed”, concluded Tudor.
In the largest and busiest cargo port in Croatia, further implementation of ongoing projects is underway, with Institut IGH providing supervision and control testing services on the following projects: Development of a multimodal platform in the Port of Rijeka- the Brajdica Container Terminal (practically finished), Reconstruction of port infrastructure and traffic areas on the Zagrebačka obala terminal (both are joint investments by the Port authority and HŽI), Deepening of the port of Brajdica's south berth, Reconstruction of the Bršica General Cargo Port in the Raša Basin, and the Reconstruction of the port infrastructure's traffic areas in the Bakar Basin.
According to the Investor's plans for the port, projects on reconstruction of traffic areas of the port's infrastructure in the Rijeka Basin will start very soon as well as construction of the D403 intermediate route which will connect the Port of Rijeka with the Zagrebačka obala terminal.
Over 28 million Euros for Gruž
Between 2004 and 2011, IGH's experts provided design and supervision services for the Dubrovnik-Gruž Passenger Port. The reconstruction and extension of the 1342 m long landing quay lasted seven years, intermittently, and the project was worth 28 million Euros. The fact that the port had to be operational during work implementation was a special challenge. In addition, this was a very narrow sea surface, which posed a special challenge for both the designers and the contractors, but, ultimately, Dubrovnik got a port where even the largest cruisers in the world will be able to dock. Somewhat to the north of the port is another project supervised by Institut IGH. The construction of new modern container and bulk cargo port terminals of the port of Ploče, worth 105 thousand Euros, was implemented between 2008 and 2010, and our experts were in charge of developing conceptual and preliminary designs, the necessary survey works, implementation of geotechnical investigations and geotechnical design.