OBALNO-KRAŠKA - Economy
The prevailance of service activities
The region's population and its share in generated national gross value added (5.5%) rank it among the smaller Slovene regions, however it is economically one of the most successful regions in Slovenia. Service activities are by far the most important, generating 75.0% of the region's gross added value, which is the highest percentage among the Slovene regions. The secondary sector contributes 23.4%, while the contribution of agriculture and fishing is 1.6%.
Fruit (apples, peaches), olive, wine and vegetables growing predominate in the region's agriculture which suffers from insufficient water resources for irrigation and is hindered by small, fragmented farms.
Fishing industry had been relatively important until the 1990s. Since then, it has been reduced considerably because Slovene fishermen could no longer practice unlimited fishing in Croatian territorial waters. Mussel aquaculture is expanding in the Bay of Piran where they have also been producing salt in saltpans for centuries.
As in Goriška, industry was introduced here only in the 50s and 60s. The most important is manufacturing of metal products and machinery industry. The companies in these branches are mostly connected with foreign partners; among other, they produce car parts for the French Citroen (Koper, Senoeče), light motorbikes (Koper) and metal fittings (Dekani). Other important industrial branches include food industry (Portoro) and toys manufacture (Izola).
Transport services, trade, tourism and commercial services predominate within the service sector. New development incentives were brought into this area with the establishment of the third Slovene university in Koper.
The most important in the transport sector is the port of Koper, which - with approximately 9.3 million tonnes of freight in 2002 - is small in global terms, however important for Slovenia as well as for the wider Central European hinterland. In Koper there is also a head office of the largest Slovene road transport company, while in Portoro there is a head office of the only Slovene ship transport company. Transport and related services are also important in Seana since the largest terrestrial freight terminal is situated at the nearby Fernetiči border crossing. Tourism with centres in Portoro and Piran is a very important activity.
Open access to the world seas, connections with the Mediterranean that have been lasting over a thousand years, and the border position were factors that indoubtedly contributed to the flourishing of Obalno-kraška and also facilitated the transition from the former socialist into a modern market economy. At least the same importance can be attributed to the local workforce that comes from local high-school centres and four local faculties. An important advantage of the region is also that the majority of the population is billingual which substantially facilitates cooperation with the Italian partners.
Gateway to the world
Slovenia has only 46.6 km of the Adriatic coast which is extremely important for the country as an acces to the world seas. After the abolition of the Free Trieste Territory (1954), the port town of Trieste was cut off from its hinterland by the Italian-Yugoslav border. Therefore, Yugoslavia opened a new port in Koper in 1958. In global terms it is not a large port, however it is very important for Slovenia and as a transit port for a large Central European hinterland, especially Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In 2002, it transshipped 9.3 million tons of cargo. The port is specialised for container and RO-RO transport. It also has terminals for general cargo, cars, iron ore and coal, grain, fruit and other perishable goods, livestock, timber and liquid fuels. Two smaller ports are also located in Izola and Piran, while Izola and Portoro also have marinas.
The port of Koper is connected to the hinterland with a major road that is planned to be constructed as a motorway after 2004, and a single-track electrified railway, constructed in 1967; the construction of the second track is planned in the near future. The track leading to Koper joins the Southern railway in Divača, while in Prešnica, a single-track railway leading to Pula (Croatia) branches off.
Near Divača, a motorway leading to Seana and further to Trieste (Italy) branches off from the Ljubljana-Kozina motorway; at the Fernetiči border crossing there is one of the largest terrestrial freight terminals in Slovenia. Other important roads include the Trieste-Rijeka road and the coastal road Koper-Izola-Portoro that extends to Trieste towards the north and to the Croatian part of the Istria peninsula towards the south.
Obalno-kraška has a relatively dense network of local, mostly paved roads. The region also has the largest number of cars per capita (54 000 passenger cars or 518 cars per 1 000 persons).
Near Portoro, there is a small international airport with a 1 200 m long runway, used primarily by smaller tourist and business planes.