Rijeka is Croatia's principal/largest seaport, Adriatic Sea cruise port and large city. which by population (around 130,000, metro over 245,000) is ranked country's 3rd-largest - following the capital Zagreb and Split. The port is located on Kvarner Bay, approx 360 km (220 mi) from Venice Italy. Other major Croatian passenger (cruise and ferry) ports are Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Sibenik.
Rijeka's economy is largely dependent on shipbuilding and maritime transport. Historically, due to its strategic position and excellent deepwater port, the town was ferociously contested, especially between Croatia, Italy and Hungary (serving as Kingdom of Hungary's biggest and most important port), changing hands many times over centuries. Currently, the majority of citizens (~85%) are Croats, along with Italians, Serbs, Bosniaks.
Port Rijeka is Croatia's largest seaport in terms of cargo shipping traffic. Statistics for 2015 show nearly 11 million tons of cargo handled, mostly refined petroleum products and crude oil, general and bulk cargoes and TEU containers. The port is managed by Port of Rijeka Authority. The first record of Port Rijeka dates back to 1281. In 1719, Port of Rijeka was granted the charter as free port. Regularly-scheduled connections via ferries exist between Rijeka and surrounding cities and islands, but there are no direct international passenger ship connections. Coastal lines to Split and Dubrovnik operate twice-weekly services and provide international connections.
In 2016, the city was selected as European Capital of Culture for 2020, along with Galway Ireland.
Part of Port Rijeka is the AGCT (Adriatic Gate Container Terminal) - Croatian subsidiary of ICTSI (International Container Terminal Services Inc / 1987-founded global port management company headquartered in Manila Philippines). In June 2019, AGCT started a two-phase terminal expansion project with scheduled completion in June 2020. The project included dredging of 130 m of quay (over Berths 1 and 2) to allow berthing of larger boxships (with LOA length up to 400 m / 1312 ft) to a total berth length 438 m (1437 ft) and quayside water depth / max draught 16,5 m (54 ft). Infrastructure works included ship handling systems and upgrading terminal's IT systems. After completion, AGCT will become Northern Adriatic Sea's first terminal able to handle ULCV (ultra-large container vessels) with max capacity 20,000 TEU-containers.
As of 2019, terminal's annual TEU capacity is 600,000 containers. AGCT has direct road and rail connections (serving container trucks) to the highway, with an average dwell time 13 min (export cycle) and 19 min (import cycle). Approx 40% of AGCT’s annual container throughput is via rail (expected increase to 60%). Railways link to Zagreb, also to Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
City's economy is largely based on shipbuilding. Here are located the shipyards "3 Maj" and "Viktor Lenac".
3 Maj Shipyard (Rijeka)
3 Maj ("Third May Shipyard") builds mainly oil tankers, bulk cargo vessels and container ships. Occasionally, here are also constructed smaller passenger ships, ferries and yachts. The 3 Maj yard employs approx 2900 workers. Its first docks were built in 1892 and leased by a Germany company under the name "Howaldtswerke". In 1902, after the German rent expired, the yard had low activity. In 1905, three Hungarian businessmen resumed the yard's operations (under the name "Danubius"). In 1920, the yard was leased by an Italian company and renamed to "Cantieri Navali del Quarnaro".
During WW2 (1939-1945), the shipyard was destroyed, and following the war had to be completely rebuilt. Then it was renamed to "Kvarnersko Brodogradiliste", later renamed to "3 Maj" (in memory of May 3, 1945, when the town was freed from German occupation)
When Croatia was part of Yugoslavia, the shipyard was one of the Mediterranean's largest, employing around 4500 workers at full capacity.
At 3 Maj Shipyard is built the luxury mega-yacht Scenic Eclipse II (2020).
Viktor Lenac Shipyard (Rijeka)
Viktor Lenac Shipyard is located approx 3 km / 2 ml from Port Rijeka. The shipyard was among the world's first making ship lengthenings. It has all 3 floating drydocks, 1 drydock for vessels with DWT up to 160,000 tons, over 1 km of berthing/quays, a large offshore construction site.
Currently, Viktor Lenac Shipyard specializes in ship conversions and offshore gas platform construction.
- The yard was founded in 1896 (under the name "Lazarus") as a ship repair facility serving vessels of the Austro-Hungarian Empire's fleet. In 1948, the shipyard was nationalized and renamed "Viktor Lenac".
- In the late-1960s, the yard was moved 3 km / 2 ml to the south to its current location, which had deeper draught. After purchasing 2 floating drydocks and cranes, the yard developed shiprepair, vessel conversion and offshore platform capabilities. Today, Viktor Lenac Shipyard is Croatia's only privately owned shipyard.
- After being rescued several times by Croatian government guarantees, in Nov 2003 the company filed for bankruptcy, reporting debts of EUR 102 million. The process was completed in 2008.
- Since 2008, the currently owned by "Tankerska plovidba" (country's largest shipping company) shipyard is Croatia's largest, followed by Uljanik Shipyard in Pula, which is country's builder of RoRo vessels/car carriers, and dredging ships).
- Since 2009, following a major refurbishment, Floating Dock 11 can accommodate Suezmax vessels.
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