Port of Zadar Authority’s general manager Robert Skific talks about the exciting future for the port
This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Spring/Summer 2019 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
What convinced Port of Zadar Authority that Global Ports Holdings (GPH) was the right partner to manage services at the new Port Gaženica passenger terminal for the next 20 years?
We wanted a partner capable of meeting our most important goal – increasing international passenger traffic through port services and other economic activities. We also wanted a partner who could help us brand Zadar as a popular cruise ship destination.
GPH is a globally successful company that has commercial relationships with cruise lines in 19 other ports. The company has already started negotiations with cruise lines who are looking to choose Zadar as a homeport when the new terminal becomes fully operational this April.
What responsibilities do the port and wider city have to help GPH make Zadar a desirable turnaround or homeport?
We support GPH-sponsored Zadar International Port Operations (ZIPO) in all the daily activities needed to make the terminal fully operational. Meanwhile, Zadar Region Tourist Board has already started supporting GPH’s marketing activities. We’re also looking for synergies with the Croatian National Tourist Board.
How is the port working with the community to help improve the perception of the city’s cruise industry?
We’ve set up a joint local community plan with ZIPO and Zadar County to create a positive atmosphere around the new cruise terminal. By directly contacting local companies who provide products and services to cruise guests, we can inform them about future business opportunities. We expect they will recognise plenty of opportunities for developing new products and services, so they can capitalise on Zadar becoming a homeport of international importance.
The port is now looking at developing other maritime traffic facilities – do you anticipate this interrupting cruise ship services?
Projects at other maritime traffic facilities will not interfere with cruise ship services. Port Gazenica is located away from the heavily congested Zadar peninsula – where we previously welcomed 7,000 passengers and 1,000 vehicles daily – and this prevents service interruptions. Both Zadar Port Authority and GPH have experience in this type of operations, so we don’t expect any inconveniences that cannot be resolved.
What are the challenges and opportunities for the port as we look to the future of the cruise industry in the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas?
The greatest challenge is the limitation of the number of daily visitors in key ports that are included on Adriatic Sea itineraries, such as Venice, Italy and Dubrovnik, Croatia. However, this is manageable due to worldwide trends and our unique advantages. The European cruise market is one of the largest in the world, and Zadar is positioned to take an important role, because of new infrastructure, operational improvements, excellent shorex possibilities, and the ideal location of the port.
Several new cruise ships will start service in 2019 and in the following years, which is a positive indicator for future cruise traffic volumes. Zadar has more potential for growth than other ports in the Adriatic because we’ve seen continuous increases in cruise passenger numbers over the years. In 2019, we expect to host more cruise calls, while cruise passenger numbers will rise to 180,000.
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