Transport in the Balkans: Current Problems and Future Strategies
ASH N, Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners, UK
Transport patterns within the Balkan region are undergoing a series of step changes resulting from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, the transition from centrally planned to market economies and the reorientation of trade to western Europe. This has
Transport patterns within the Balkan region are undergoing a series of step changes resulting from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, the transition from centrally planned to market economies and the reorientation of trade to western Europe. This has on the one hand made parts of the transport system redundant or at best underutilised, e.g. some railway and inland waterway links, whilst on the other hand other parts of the transport network, e.g. certain ports and roads, are overloaded compared to their design standard.
Trade between the Balkan region and the EU is of regional significance and given Greece's geographical position, with no land borders with other EU countries, the efficient movement of freight between the Balkan region and the EU is of some importance to member states. Therefore as part of the need for a coherent and comprehensive strategy for the region, Sir Alexander Gibb and Parmers Ltd (GIBB), was commissioned by the European Union's Phare aid programme, in conjunction with recipient countries, to undertake a transport study of the Balkans, covering freight transport using road, rail, ports, inland waterways, combined transport and short sea shipping modes. The study covered the countries of Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania; Slovenia and Hungary were also included as far as connecting infrastructure is concerned.
The views expressed in this paper are to be considered preliminary, at least as regards the final overall strategy, and are those of the author alone. They m no way form any agreed policy on behalf of the countries concemed or the European Commission.
This paper will draw on the author's experience of the Balkans gained by continual and intensive visits to the region over the last three years, together with GIBB's studies in the region, in order to:
* give an overview of the condition of existing transport corridors;
* describe existing transport movements along the road, rail, inland waterways and short sea shipping corridors;
* outline existing bottlenecks, both infrastructural and institutional;
* describe transport development strategy for the region and the needs of each of the modes.
Association for European Transport