European Union officials announced plans to support the development of an expanded port in Lithuania as part of an effort to support a green transition and enhance maritime capabilities in the Baltic and Eastern Europe. The European Investment Bank (EIB), owned by member states as the lending institution of the EU, and Klaipeda State Seaport Authority recently signed a €65 million ($69 million) loan agreement for the development of Klaipeda seaport in Lithuania. The EU previously also awarded grants and the Nordic Investment Bank is also financing the project.
According to the bank, the project supports an important European maritime transport hub and is of strategic importance for the Lithuanian economy. The financing will be for the rehabilitation, extension and deepening of the port’s quay walls to facilitate access for larger vessels.
The key purpose of the project is for the seaport to be able to accommodate larger vessels and therefore lead to greater productivity. The transport hub will be for a variety of goods and cargo.
The Baltic took on new strategic importance in 2022 after the Russian invasion of Ukraine impacted Eastern Europe’s southern ports. The EU has placed a new importance on supporting the Baltic states.
“The financing agreement that we signed will enable us to continue implementing our ambitious vision of a modern and sustainable port, providing the highest quality services,” said Algis Latakas, Director General of Klaipeda State Seaport Authority. “We aim to welcome the biggest ships that can enter the Baltic Sea. Proper infrastructure — port depth, modern quay walls, a convenient port railway network — are a prerequisite for making this vision a reality.”
Over the last 12 years, EIB notes that the port of Klaipeda’s cargo volume has increased by 63 percent — from 27.9 million tons in 2009 to 45.6 million tons in 2021. The port they highlighted is one of the largest transport hubs in the country and provides a vital link to the Baltic and North Sea as part of the TEN-T North Sea-Baltic corridor.
Port officials said that the biggest development projects for the future include a new approximately 250-acre container terminal, offshore wind farm installation infrastructure, and a port depth of nearly 56 feet, the maximum needed in the Baltic Sea.
Decarbonization of ports, as well as climate action and environmental sustainability, are priorities for the EIB. The bank highlights that this project will also play a role in accelerating the green transition in the Baltic region as it will be part of the shift from road to sea transport.