Electric vehicle (EV) maker VinFast will begin importing vehicles to Europe from Vietnam through the Slovenian port of Koper following a recent agreement signed with the port’s operator, Luka Koper. The first batch of Vinfast VF8 EVs is scheduled to arrive by the end of November this year.
Luka Koper will provide stevedoring and other terminal services, including predelivery inspection and services (PDI/PDS), vehicle care and maintenance services, quality checks, and vehicle body work.
“We are excited to collaborate with Luka Koper to pave the way for VinFast’s expansion in the European markets,” Thuy Le, global CEO of VinFast Auto. “Koper, one of the largest Mediterranean ports for containers and cars, is a vital gateway for VinFast electric vehicles to penetrate the European markets and captivate our customers. We believe that Luka Koper will provide a solid foundation for VinFast’s sustainable supply and development strategy.”
The port offers extensive network of maritime, road and rail connections, and with the completion of a second rail track expected in 2026, Luka Koper plans to double the railway throughput capacity. There are currently extensive upgrades underway on the whole Slovenian rail network, with some sections already modernised and others under construction, according to a spokesperson for Luka Koper. “It’s a long-term project, but we are aware that these works are necessary to bring the rail transport to a new quality level. An important boost will happen when the new line Koper-Divača will be completed in 2026.”
Currently, Salloum Logistics is responsible for handling road and rail transport for Vinfast but the carmaker said it was continuously expanding its supplier network to scale distribution and make it more efficient in the near future.
Supporting volume growth at Koper
Last year Luka Koper handled more than 801,000 vehicles, a 22% increase on the previous year, despite the disruption to vehicle logistics in Europe and maintenance work on the Slovenian rail network. Luka Koper also completed work in July this year on a new vehicle storage facility with capacity for 3,500 vehicles.
To support the processing of EVs at the port, Luka Koper has 29 charging stations with 22kWh power at various locations and DC fast-charging stations (180 kWh) are being installed until the end of this year. A spokesperson for the company also said that existing infrastructure is ready for additional charging stations if needed.
The companies said that the partnership would strengthen the transport connections between the port of Koper and major ports in Vietnam, and further develop trade between the two countries. According to Vinfast, the port of Koper is the first landing point for cargo vessels from south-east Asia to Europe via the Suez Canal. The carmaker said the partnership with Luka Koper will enable it to take advantages one of the shortest routes from Vietnam to Europe, thereby optimising transport time and costs.
Vinfast said Luka Koper serves as a strategic partner in VinFast’s expansion plans into the southern European market but it is also “actively exploring collaboration with other strategic partners to lay the groundwork for future expansion into the northern European market”, according to a spokesperson for the carmaker. Later this year, Vinfast is scheduled to deliver vehicles to customers in France, Germany, and the Netherlands. The next batch of vehicle deliveries will commence in the first quarter of 2024. The carmaker has launched 13 VinFast stores in France, Germany, and the Netherlands, and has plans to further extend its network across Europe in the near future.