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LUKA KOPER, d.d., Koper

A Successful Visit to Argentina

Occasionally Luka Koper handles goods from Argentina, but the volume of such traffic is modest. But this is about to change, because there are now good prospects that Koper will play a more important role in Argentina's trade with Europe. President of the Luka Koper d.d. Management Board, Mr Robert Časar, together with Board member Mr Aldo Babič, and Executive Marketing and Development Director Mr Milan Pučko, visited Argentina last week in order to ascertain the possibilities of increasing Argentina's use of the Port of Koper in its commercial relations with Central Europe.

Luka Koper's representatives had talks with the executive management of the Buenos Aires Chamber of Commerce, the Argentine Chamber of Exporters and the representatives of the country's Maritime Directorate. Further to this, Mr Robert Časar and Mr Alejandro Sanna, CEO of the Mar del Plata-based Establecimiento Santa BŠrbara S.A., signed a letter of intent on business co-operation in the development of the Port of Mar del Plata, and the fostering of shipping logistics links between the two ports. Establecimiento Santa BŠrbara, which holds a terminal operation concession for Mar del Plata, is primarily engaged in the production, processing, marketing and export of foodstuffs.

Located on the Atlantic coast some 500 km south of Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata is - with a population of 700,000 - the seventh largest city in Argentina. It is also the centre of one of the most commercially developed regions of the country. In addition to tourism, which is currently its pre-eminent sector, the city is a traditional centre of the fisheries industry, food processing and textiles. There are also two large shipyards, which for the most part construct smaller fishing vessels; some telecommunications and electronics plants have been established of late.

Although Mar del Plata is a traditional fishing port, it also has a cargo wharf that for the most part handles cereals. Due to the considerable saturation of Argentina's largest ports, the national development strategy anticipates expansion of the handling capacities of seaports such as Mar del Plata. The former state organisation, which previously ran Argentina's ports and was characterised by rigid and inefficient management, has been dismantled. Today commercial franchises, also encompassing terminal operation, have been granted to licensees. Establecimiento Santa BŠrbara, as the Mar del Plata franchise holder and future partner of Luka Koper, plans to extend the existing facilities and make them suitable for handling containers.

Establecimiento Santa BŠrbara is particularly interested in Luka Koper as a partner capable of providing know-how as regards port development and the creation of an efficient logistics platform. Further to this, the two companies shall also co-operate in the marketing and promotion of both ports and their logistics services. This collaborative project, initiated by the signing of the letter of intent, has the full support of both the local as well as the national authorities in Argentina. The transatlantic trans-Mediterranean route through Koper is of particular interest to Argentina in its trading relations with Central and Eastern Europe, most of which is currently directed through Hamburg and St. Petersburg. It is hoped that this memorandum will be the first step in Luka Koper becoming an important logistics provider for Argentinean goods destined for European markets.

This inforamtion is available on the company's website www.luka-kp.si from 4th April 2007.


The Management Board


Date: 4. 4. 2007