The State Enterprise Klaipeda State Seaport Authority was founded in 1991 by the Lithuanian Government. Before independence in 1990, two seaports existed on the site of today's Klaipeda State Seaport: the commercial seaport and the fishing port. The decree creating the port authority also consolidated the ports. In 1992, Klaipeda won status of a state seaport.
In 1996, a law was passed stating that the land and water, quays, hydro-technical equipment, navigation routes, canals, and infrastructure of Klaipeda State Seaport belong to the state and cannot be privatized. The state manages all of these with the objective of developing Klaipeda State Seaport, maintaining its competitiveness, and increasing cargo-handling volumes. The SE Klaipeda State Seaport Authority is responsible for:
Klaipeda State Seaport is the only seaport in Lithuania, and it is the fastest-growing seaport on the Baltic Sea.Klaipeda State Seaport is constantly being modernized, and more cruise ships, passengers, and cargoes arrive there each year. In 2008, cargo throughput in Klaipeda State Seaport reached an historic record.
Klaipeda State Seaport is at the crossroads of the international transportation corridors between Europe and Asia. Klaipeda State Seaport is the Eastern Baltic seaport nearest to the ports in Northern Europe and Southern Scandinavia. Klaipeda State Seaport is a leader for container-handling in the Baltic States, and it specializes in smooth inter-modal transport of cargoes and passengers. Klaipeda State Seaport is ice-free throughout the year.
More than 800 types of companies engaged in port-related activities employ over 23 thousand people in the Klaipeda State Seaport area. Klaipeda State Seaport directly contributes 4.5% of the country's gross domestic product.
In 2008, over 8300 vessels called in Klaipeda State Seaport, including 2766 bulk carriers, 524 tankers, 854 ferries, and 49 passenger ships. Klaipeda State Seaport handled a total of 29.9 million tons of cargo in 2008, and the Butinge Terminal handled over nine million tons of cargo. Cargoes through Klaipeda State Seaport included 21.1 million tons of imports and 7.7 million tons of exports.
Cargoes through Klaipeda State Seaport in 2008 included nearly 11 million tons of liquid bulk, 9.7 million tons of dry bulk, 9.2 million tons of general cargo. General cargoes in the Klaipeda State Seaport included 3.5 million tons of containerized cargo, 3.6 million tons of roll-on/roll-off cargo, and 2.0 million tons of other general cargo.
Klaipeda State Seaport cargo throughput categories included oil products (9.4 million tons), fertilizers (7.2 million tons), containers (3.5 million tons), minerals and construction materials (1.3 million tons), timber (957 thousand tons), metal scrap (636 thousand tons), sugar (527 thousand tons), ferroalloys (438 thousand tons), perishable products (376 thousand tons), grain and fodder (371 thousand tons), and peat (148 thousand tons). Containerized cargoes through Klaipeda State Seaport included 184 thousand TEUs in exports and 189.3 thousand TEUs of imports. In 2008, 276.6 thousand passengers (not all on cruise ships) arrived at Klaipeda State Seaport.
The entrance channel to Klaipeda State Seaport is 15 meters deep, and the inner internal channel is from 13 to 14.5 meters deep. Klaipeda State Seaport can accept large dry-cargo vessels of up to 80 thousand DWT and tankers up to 150 thousand DWT.
Klaipeda State Seaport contains 28 specialized cargo-handling terminals, including terminals for oil products (2), liquid fertilizers (2), other liquid cargoes (3), bulk fertilizers (3), agricultural products (2), other bulk cargoes (3), containers (2), roll-on/roll-off cargoes (2), refrigerated cargoes (4), timber, (3), and other general cargo (2).
The Cruise Vessel Terminal in Klaipeda State Seaport was built in 2003, beginning a new era of cruise shipping. That year, 30 cruise ships and nine thousand cruise passengers visited Klaipeda State Seaport. In 2007, 65 cruise ships brought 37 thousand passengers to Klaipeda State Seaport. The terminal covers 1.2 hectares and can accommodate vessels 315 meters long with draft of 8.5 meters. This Klaipeda State Seaport terminal offers hotels, restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, currency exchange, telephone and mail services, internet, and ATMs. Cruise business has grown so quickly that the Klaipeda State Seaport is building a new Passenger and Cargo Terminal in the city center. To be completed in 2011, the new terminal will accommodate cruise vessels and passenger and roll-on/roll-off ferries.
Also opening in 2011 will be a new Public Logistics Centre in the Klaipeda State Seaport to provide warehousing, packaging, sorting, and labeling of cargoes. This hub will coordinate inter-modal transport. Eventually covering 336 hectares, the center will be in southern Klaipeda adjacent to Klaipeda State Seaport. The government will fund infrastructure, and private stakeholders will finance the terminals and warehouses.
In order to provide safe berthing space for yachts, launches, and other small boats, Klaipeda State Seaport will construct a new quay in the southern part of the port, located so that small boats can avoid the navigation channel and turning basin used by commercial traffic. The new Klaipeda State Seaport quay will offer 690 mooring points, and a yachting school will be located there. The new quay is also scheduled for completion in 2011.
The resort town and ancient fishermen's settlement of Dventoji is located about 35 kilometers north of Klaipeda State Seaport. At one time, it was a busy and competitive seaport, but it has fallen into disrepair. To be completed in 2014, the Port of Dventoji will be rehabilitated for the use of local fishermen as well as specialized marine services like rescue, oil spill and environmental response, fire fighting, fish breeding, and coast guard activities.