More cruise ships will head to Port of Split in Croatia

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo
@pyrkalo

The EBRD will finance the expansion of ferry and cruise passenger operations to support the growing tourism industry around Split in Croatia.

The €18.8 million sovereign guaranteed loan to the Port of Split Authority, which manages the infrastructure of the port will be used to extend and reconfigure the passenger wharves.

At present, 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 handling of large and medium-sized ships and relieve congestion at the 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.

Donor funds were provided by the Netherlands for project preparation, including an environmental impact assessment. Technical cooperation funds have been approved by the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund to support the Port of Split Authority’s institutional strengthening steps which will also be undertaken within the project.

“Efficient local transport infrastructure in Split will allow Croatia to expand tourism outside of the limited number of well-known tourist hubs such as Dubrovnik and Istria. The Port of Split upgrade is the third port in Croatia to benefit from an EBRD-financed reconstruction, after the ports of Sibenik and Dubrovnik, and is part of a wider strategy by Croatia to accommodate growing tourism. The EBRD has supported other vital infrastructure projects in Croatia – including motorways and roads – as the country is preparing for the EU accession in 2013,” said Zsuzsanna Hargitai, EBRD’s Director for Croatia.

“With the implementation of this valuable investment into extension and rehabilitation of the passenger wharves on the outer side of the breakwater of the city of Split, the Port of Split will significantly increase the existing admission capacities for large cruise ships and ships in international maritime traffic and raise the level of service and security at the port, which is most important to passengers and shippers. This project will indirectly produce very positive effects for the economy of Split, increase tourist visits, generate additional revenues from tourism, but will also have a positive influence on the wider region’s development. With the status of primary cruise port, the port of Split will gain back its leading position in the Mediterranean, well deserved for its tradition, location and function," said Siniša Hajdaš-Dončić, Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure.

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.