Transit center wants bigger cargo ships than ever at Muuga
In the future, Estonian firm Transiidikeskuse AS, which handles cotainer and bulk shipping at its Transit Center at the Port of Muuga, would like to bring 5-6 Panamax-sized cargo ships per year to Muuga, and is in the process of building three new warehouses with a total of 12,000 area of square meters, or nearly 130,000 square feet.
Estonian daily Ärileht (link in Estonian) has reported that the gross investment in the new warehouses totals five million euros.
According to Chairman of the Board Erik Laidvee, the transit center is currently applying for the construction permits needed for the construction of the warehouses. "The first should be completed by November already, but if we're lucky then possibly all three [will be completed]," he told the paper. "Some equipment is already ordered, some is being ordered, but some of it has already arrived."
The Panamax, named after the Panama Canal, is a class of cargo ships 290 meters (950 feet) long by 32 meters (106 feet) wide with a draft of 12 meters (39.5 feet). Before recent renovations, this was also the maximum size of ship the Panama Canal could handle.
Currently the Port of Sillamäe and the Port of Muuga's grain, coal and fertilizer terminals are able to handle Panamax-sized cargo ships visiting Estonia.
Based on ship draft and length, Panamax-sized ships can also dock at the Transit Center's berth No. 17, however until now the company's loading equipment was lacking. "We hope to serve five to six Panamaxes per year," said Laidvee.
The market situation prompted the Transit Center to make the investment. "There is a slump in containers, but demand in bulk cargo," said Laidvee. The Transit Center's container turnover during the first seven months of this year was six percent lower than during the same period last year. At the same time, however, bulk cargo grew by 42.3 percent.
"Annually we want to get an additional 300,000 tons of cargo; the current capacity is 700,000.
Annually, we want to get the 300 000 tonnes of cargo, currently has capacity of 700 000 tonnes," said Laidvee. "Thus, the total capacity next year could be one million tons."