The state of the quays of the Klaipėda State Seaport must be improved, the management and control of the port’s land must be improved, and decisions on the need for reserve areas and their annexation to the port must not be delayed. This was revealed by the National Audit Office’s audit “Infrastructure Management of Port of Klaipėda”.
Klaipėda State Seaport is Lithuania’s most important and largest transport centre, connecting sea, land and rail routes from east and west. The territory of the port covers 554.1 ha of land and 31,734 ha of water area. More than 800 companies are directly involved in port activities, generating over 58,000 workplaces and 6.1% of the country’s GDP. The port handles an average of around 45 million tonnes of cargo per year.
The audit results show that the condition of the port quays should be improved, a quarter of them were still in an unsatisfactory condition in 2021, limiting the ability of the land lessees to carry out cargo handling, shipbuilding and ship repair activities at full capacity. Some of the buildings held in trust by the Port Authority were not used for port activities because they were abandoned, dilapidated or unfinished.
In order to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the port, it is important that the activities of the lessees of the land are related to the port’s goals and objectives. However, according to the auditors, 43% of the land lease agreements did not specify the specific port-related activities (e.g. ship repair, ship handling, etc.) that the lessees undertook to perform. In 57% of the land lease agreements, the turnover commitments for the lessees do not show the extent to which their activities have contributed to the performance of the port. Some of the lessees did not fulfil their obligations without any consequences, even though the law stipulates that the port has the right to terminate the lease agreement early.
“Current practice does not ensure that all lessees of port land contribute as much as possible to the port’s operational objectives. As the port’s territory is limited and there is a shortage of vacant land, it is important that those who lease land contribute to achieving the port’s targets and maximising its benefits,” says Giedrė Piktelytė, Principal - Auditor and Audit Team Leader.
Implementation of the recommendations made by the National Audit Office will result in the more efficient management of the Port of Klaipėda’s land and infrastructure, and the lessees of the port’s land will contribute effectively to the achievement of the port’s operational objectives. It has been agreed with the Klaipėda State Port Authority that the implementation of the recommendations will reduce the number of quays to be improved by 3.6 km by 2032. The aim is also to ensure that all land lease agreements specify the specific port-related activities to which the lessees have committed themselves.