The Port of Koper lies on Slovenia’s 17-kilometer southwestern coastline on the Adriatic Sea. The Port of Koper is just five kilometers south of Slovenia’s border with Italy and 12 kilometers southwest of the Port of Trieste. Originally an island, it was connected by a causeway to the mainland in 1825. An important seaport for the landlocked countries in Central Europe, almost 23 thousand people lived in the Port of Koper in 2005.
From the 3rd Century BC to the 6th Century AD, the Romans called the Port of Koper Capris. The Port of Koper was part of the Venetian Republic from 932 until 1797, during which time it became a free commune in 1186 and the capital of Istria Province. Napoleonic France controlled the Port of Koper from 1797 until 1813. It passed to the Austrian Empire from 1813 until 1918. After World War I, it was held by Italy.
From the end of World War II until 1954 when it became part of Yugoslavia, the Port of Koper was in the Free Territory of Trieste. During the years after World War II, most of the Port of Koper’s Italian minority left the city, leaving behind a strong Italian influence. Today, the city has two official languages: Slovene and Italian. When Slovenia became independent in 1991, the Yugoslav army left from the Port of Koper, and a monument commemorates that event today.
The port facilities for the Port of Koper were started in 1957, and the port was established. In 1963, the port gained the status of a free-trade zone. The railway connected the Port of Koper and the hinterland in 1967.
In 1974, the first regular Mediterranean container line was established, and the Port of Koper’s container terminal was built in 1979. The Coal and Iron Ore terminal was added in 1984, and a grain silo was built in 1988. The Port of Koper gained a new Car Terminal in 1995, a livestock terminal was added in 1998, and a parking garage with capacity for 3350 cars was constructed in 1999.
In 2000, Trieste Port’s daughter company, Trieste International Container Terminal, was granted a 30-year concession for managing the Port of Koper’s container terminal. In 2001, Pier II was constructed, and the Port of Koper received a Business Excellence Award from the Republic of Slovenia in 2002. In 2003, the Port of Koper handled more than 11 million tons of cargo.
In 2004, Luka Koper, DD, gained the status of a border inspection post for goods going to the European Union. Also in that year, the Port of Koper Coal and Iron Ore Terminal was completed and named the European Energy Terminal. In 2005, the Port of Koper received the European Foundation for Quality Managements’ Award for Business Excellence, and the Port of Koper handled a record of 13 million tons of cargo. In 2006, the Port of Koper became a finalist for the European Business Excellence Award, and cargo volume exceeded 14 million tons.
In 2007, the first phase of the Port of Koper’s new information system began operating, and agents for Malaysia established offices in the Port of Koper. Also in that year, work on the extension of Pier I and new warehouses for cars began. In 2007, cargo volumes handled at the Port of Koper were over 15 million tons.