group of people

05 February 2019
SAGOV, first findings of the research presented in the Thematic Roundtable

South Adriatic Area is an important transit area between Italy, Albania and Montenegro. However, its place in the European Connectivity Agenda is under-represented. When one factors in the trade volume it can be noticed that maritime transport carries 75% of Albanian foreign trade, while Italy is its main trade partner (63,6% of exports and 43,7% of imports) and the 2nd FDI source for the country. Montenegro is investing more than EUR 800MiO to connect Bar port with TEN-T Orient - East Med and so become the nearest - and main port in the Adriatic Sea - for Serbian companies. 

Recently two major developments are taking place in the area: the Adriatic-Ionian Corridor and sizeable investment in radically improving Durres Port infrastructure. Meanwhile, smaller but very relevant achievements have been reached. Tuzi Rail station serves both Montenegro - Albanian railways, Hani i Hotit Border Crossing Point has undergone restructuring to shorten border-crossing time, etc. Both ports, Bar and Durres figure as entry point for the Corridor VIII in the Balkans.

Moreover, both Albania and Montenegro have adopted their Transport Sector Strategy, where the development of connections with border countries are an important part. However, more coordination amongst national authorities when preparing those documents is needed, notwithstanding the role and contribution of regional structures such as SEETO or WBIF. Moreover this kind of regional coordination platforms does not exist at all with Italy.

On the other side of Adriatic, Puglia ports of Bari and Taranto are both part of TEN-T corridor Scandinavian - Mediterranean. The prioritization of investment in transport depends also on the importance of the destination nod i.e. its market size and / or its connections to 3rd markets and networks. From this point of view, port of Bari is the closest point of access to the EU market for both Albania and Montenegro.  Moreover, lately Bari port is offering feeder service for exports from the Balkans destined to far away destinations starting from Africa and further away. Port of Bari serves perfectly freight, large cargo and long distance, and containers.

As each economic activity has its own kind of connectivity, manufacturing needs roads and railways, while the bulk transport needs rail and maritime. The economic structure of both Balkan countries and their trade profile favorites the maritime transport.