TALLINN - This week Estonia was set to take a step forward in consolidating its dominant position in the Baltic port-transit business, as private investors prepared to open a new port in Sillamae in the northeastern part of the country and the Port of Tallinn announced a new program to develop the port in Paldiski.
The Sillamae port, which was set to launch operations on Oct. 21, can harbor large ships and handle up to 10 million tons of cargo per year.
The port is connected to the Tallinn - St. Petersburg highway by new roads, and an old railroad connecting Sillamae with Vaivara 25 kilometers east of Narva was renovated.
The port is owned by Estonia's Silmet Group and a group of St. Petersburg-based businessmen. Port authorities intend to lease their infrastructure to independent operators on the basis of long-term contracts, Baltic News Service reported.
Construction of the first phase of port infrastructure development has been completed, port authorities said. In all, two wharves for oil products with a depth of 16 meters, a liquid-chemical cargo wharf, a Ro-Ro wharf and three wharves for general cargoes were built.
Four terminals are being developed in the port.
Meanwhile, the state-owned Tallinna Sadam (Port of Tallinn) announced it planned to invest approximately 300 million kroons (19 million euros) in developing the South Port at Paldiski, some 50 kilometers southwest of Tallinn, to handle increasing cargo turnover.
A spokesman said a large part of the investment would go into planning and building a new wharf designed for mostly bulk and mixed cargoes. The port also wants to improve the road network on the territory and expand reserve space for handling goods.