Minister of Public Works and Transport of Albania
Newsletter n°12 / Special edition
December 2010 /January 2011
1. SEETAC is managed by the Central European
Initiative, the oldest regional forum including Albania in its
membership since 1996: do you think that a regional forum like the
Central European Initiative can be of help for a non-EU country to
get closer to the EU, its institutions and
Albania has joined the CEI in 1996 and ever since that moment,
it has taken great advance of participation in various activities
organised under the framework of the Initiative and in coordination
with its Executive Secretariat. Its full potential was reached in
2006 when Albania held the CEI Presidency, and organised several
important events and high - level meetings. For countries such as
Albania, having the possibility of working in the framework of a
regional initiative is a very important aspect of cooperation with
countries belonging to the EU and countries working to join in.
The CEI conveys the message of interregional cooperation at the
EU level and beyond, focuses on areas of mutual interest with the
EU, and offers an added value for all its Member States. More
concretely, Albania's participation in EU funded projects through
the leadership of the CEI provides concrete opportunities for
collaboration. Albania is a crucial actor in the Western Balkan
countries and Europe is the way ahead for the Western Balkans. Any
effort to involve them in the dialogue and the inclusion of EU
policies is crucial for the development of our country.
2. Inyour opinion, how
could SEETAC contribute to the Albanian transport system, and what
is, in your opinion, the role of this project in the process of
integration of Albania into the EU?
In joining this organization Albania's objective was to
facilitate its integration within the Southeast Europe in
compliance with the goals of the SAA including segments of the
Pan-European Corridors IV, V, VII and X and specifically, Corridor
VIII (Durres-Varna via Tirana) as well as the ports of Durres and
Vlora, and Tirana International Airport.
Albania, being a full IPA partner in the SEETAC project has
participated actively in all activities and successfully completed
the 2nd SEETAC Ministerial Conference held in Tirana on
16th November 2010.
I am convinced that SEETAC will serve as an important data base
for the necessary financing near the relevant institutions and
This project could contribute to generate transport continuity
and infrastructure development in the European area and beyond,
thus implicitly leading to a rising competitiveness and economic
development with the ultimate aim of integrating the Western
Balkans countries in the European single market.
Also this project could contribute to the solution of the
cross-border bottlenecks and the lack of harmonization among the
participating countries; promoting legal transnational framework,
as well as common safety, security and environmental standards,
harmonisation of transport modes. Moreover, it aims at harmonising
and standardising, wherever feasible, technical standards and
regulatory or administrative provisions affecting the flow of
transport in and across the region, in line with the EU standard
and directives, promoting and enhancing local capacities for the
implementation of investment programs, management and data
collection and analysis in the Regional Participants
3. Inwhich measure would
the Albanian seaports and rail systems benefit from the realization
of the missing link on rail Corridor 8?
Transport Corridor VIII is one of the Trans European Network
Corridors recognized by the European Union. The Corridor VIII
development project is an internationally recognized plan for the
development of highway, rail and pipeline links between Albania,
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria. Many of the
components are already underway, but many more remain unfunded.
The rail project study Durres-Skopie-Sofia links the two ports
of Corridor VIII to the Balkan region, Durres and Vlora. The
potential development of freight traffic on Rail Corridor VIII
should proceed as a part of a regional Balkan transport
It is also important to mention the international linkage
through Corridor VIII. Once the rehabilitation of the rail network
is well underway, Albanian Railways will need to complete the
connection to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Albania,
as a member of the South-East Europe Transport Observatory (SEETO)
has committed itself to providing rail access to its port
facilities at Durres and Vlora as a partner in Corridor VIII as
well as in the construction of the missing link Lin-Qafe Thane
(Albanian-FYR of Macedonia cross border), in the Albanian
territory. The construction cost of a 2.8 km connection to the
border amounts to about 7-10 million Euros. The length of the
railway line in FYR of Macedonia to the Albanian border is roughly
66 km. (AL-FYROM cross border - Struga-Kicevo). In addition, the
link between Skopje and Sofia has to be completed.
Railway freight transport during the year 2010 has been showing
signs of improvement of domestic and international freight
Albania is a coastal country, its coastal border is 440 km long,
which provides favourable conditions for the development of the
Maritime Sector. There are six commercial ports and the Port of
Durres is the main Port in Albania and the Gateway of Corridor
VIII, for manufacturing goods, containers and passengers. Despite
investments made for the rehabilitation of infrastructure and
superstructure, which have been giving positive effects in
increasing the freight and passenger traffic, it is necessary to
continue to increase investments in infrastructure and processing
technologies to achieve European standards.
A comprehensive well functioning transport infrastructure is of
crucial importance for efficient and cost effective mobility and
especially for the rapid freight transport to international
markets. Improved infrastructure along the Pan-European Corridors
will help Albania in meeting the EU standards of operational
Combined Transport in the Republic of Albania is achieved only
on a minimal level. There is only one container terminal in the
Port of Durres, which serves for two types of transport, land and
sea transport. Moreover in our country no logistical centre
operates this kind of transport.
Medium-term objective is a gradual development of combined
transport, connecting the Albanian ports to the neighbouring
countries especially along the axes (i) Corridor VIII (completing
the construction of the railway line with the former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia, aiming at the connection with the Adriatic
Sea and Ionian Sea ) (ii) Tirane - Shkoder - Podgorica and (iii)
ports Durres-Vlore-Shengjin towards Kosovo and beyond.
4. How will the exemption from EU visa requirements,
foreseen for the end of this year, contribute to the development of
the Albanian transport system?
The liberalization of the EU visa requirements for Albanian
citizens, which started on 15th December 2010, was one
of the big priorities of the Government of Albania. This process
will contribute to the free of movement of people and goods towards
the EU countries (toward the Schengen zone countries).
The Prime Minister Mr. Berisha expressed his gratitude to all
those who took the noble decision on visa-free travel for Albania
citizens. He also expressed his trust that every Albanian citizen
travelling to the Schengen area will behave himself in full dignity
and will strictly abide by all regulations and obligations stemming
from the visa liberalization process.
Following the liberalization of EU visa requirements the
Albanian transport system will assist to an increase in passengers
traffic (road, maritime and air transport) and the volume of
freight transportation as well as to a simplification of
custom procedures and the reduction of the waiting time at the
border crossings (soft-measures).
The exemption from the EU visa requirements is now also
important for professional vehicle drivers and the limitations on
5. Which role could the Albanian ports play in the
development of the domestic economy?
In pursuance of the National Plan for Transport and the
Sectorial Strategy for Transport the Albanian ports are in top
priority of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
As far as the Durres Port is concerned the growth in container
traffic has been high since it applies a more efficient method of
shipping on a large variety of imported goods to Albania.
Ferry traffic makes up a large portion of the operations in the
port. The quantity of cargo transiting through Albania is
relatively small. In future, the port should increase the quantity
through traffic from Kosovo (medium term) and eventually through
Corridor VIII (long term).
Strategically, the Durres Port is the only port whose scope of
its operations is only national, and it will continue to retain
this position. Smaller ports serve niche import markets linked to
their hinterland. They generate little export traffic and are
likely to witness large variations in their cargo movements from
year to year due to the smaller markets they serve and to
competitive conditions in the shipping industry and in the types of
goods traded through these ports. The planned investments in these
three ports are likely to be sufficient for the foreseeable
Whereas, in the Vlora Port the ferry traffic represents an
important share of operations. Conventional cargo ships still use
the port, and the handled cargo is oriented to the importation of
construction materials. The commercial port will undergo a major
upgrading funded through the Italian Government based on an earlier
On the other hand we have the Shengjin Port, whose management
might be turned over to the Government of Kosovo. It is uncertain
how this arrangement might work. Ferry operations began this year
and are expected to grow.
For the port of Shengjin, the turnover of its management to the
representatives of the Government of Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244/99)
might bring to a further traffic development. Increased
traffic might also occur in line with the construction of specific
industrial and mining projects located in the northern Albania or
in Kosovo. However, road access to the port is poor and its storage
area is limited.
For all three ports, offshore exploration and development of
petroleum resources could have a major impact.
For the Port of Vlora, the proposed transhipment container port
will see most of conventional ship activities probably operating
out of this larger facility leaving the ferry operations at the
present commercial port.
The two petroleum terminals serve regional markets: Porto Romano
- northern and central Albania and Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244/99),
and Vlora2 southern Albania and the export of crude oil. The
requirements for other industrial goods, for example, cement or
mineral exports, where the volumes are high, might be needed in the
longer term. Approval of these innovation activities should await a
coastal management plan that would take into consideration a number
of land use factors and conflicts among which: different economic
uses of the coastal lands, for example, between tourism and
industrial development; environmental concerns regarding the
adverse impacts that could result from building and operating these
facilities and the land use and zoning maps and regulations that
would be prepared on the basis of the outcome of a participatory
process involving stakeholders. If done properly, the process is
long and arduous. Once they are available they are easily managed.
The types of infrastructure covered would include marinas which are
linked to the tourism development.
In the Saranda Port the commercial traffic has been dropping
while passenger traffic from Corfu and cruise ships has been
increasing. This port will see a major make over. Under World Bank
funding, the old commercial port will be converted to a cruise ship
dock while the commercial (cargo) port has been moved to a nearby
The Portual Authority of Durres is financing the construction of
the eastern berth No. 10 with a value of 9.8 Million Euro. The
contract on the service of maintenance of electric cranes and
vehicles was signed in July 2009 with the Austrian company KALMAR.
The third stevedore company was designated in November 2009 in
accordance with the study and recommendations of the World
As for the development of the Port of Vlora, the support of the
Italian Government for the implementation of the first and second
stage of its rehabilitation was provided, at a cost of 15.3 Million
Euro, consisting in the construction of the new berth for ferries
and cargo ships. This investment is made in accordance with the
Masterplan development for the Port of Vlora prepared by the GIBB
6. Which are the local development projects foreseen
for the present infrastructure situation in the main Albanian
There are some strategic priorities in these areas, such as
aligning the legislative framework with the acquis, road safety
measures, rehabilitation of ports, air safety modernisation of
railway infrastructure, amongst others.
Namely the priority is given to the Corridor VIII (Durres -
Varna via Tirana), the ports of Durrse and Vlora (the segment of
Levan-Vlorë, is under construction; completion in 2011; Qafe
Plloce-Korce 29 km, it is under construction, state budget), and
the Rinas Airport. This network also gives a regional value to the
infrastructure connection C VIII and X,
Durres-Kukes-Morine-Pristina-Nis by considering it a Corridor.
The segment of Shkodër-Han i Hotit, (39 km) was newly started.
The design cost and its construction are financed by the Italian
The infrastructure development in the area of Western Balkans,
in which Albania is included as well, has been the object of
several studies financed by the community institutions such as:
Regional Balkans Infrastructure (REBIS), (EU CARDS 2003), etc.
The central southern corridor, Tiranë-Elbasan-Berat-Tepelenë,
has recently introduced the modified main network upon the proposal
of the Albanian Government and the approval of the Steering
Committee of SEETO, Skopje 2009), through which Greece is linked
with Montenegro and further with the Corridor Durrës-Morine (the
border with Kosovo), which connects the Paneuropean Corridors VIII
Fushe Kruje-Rrogozhine 62 km, (short link on North-South