The Port of Piraeus – Opportunity for Railways in South East Europe?



The Port of Piraeus – Opportunity for Railways in South East Europe?

Nominated for The Neil Mansfield Award

Authors

Aleksandar Bauranov, Urbanova

Description

The paper analyzes impacts of Chinese investments in the Port of Piraeus on the rail freight traffic in the Southeastern Europe.

Abstract

The paper analyzes impacts of the Chinese investments in the Port of Piraeus on the rail freight traffic in the Southeastern Europe. Chinese state-owned shipping companies, along with several East Asian corporations, have marked the Port of Piraeus as a new logistics hub of Europe. China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) in 2009 won the 35-year concession for the two of three port terminals and in January 2016 formally acquired a 67% share for €370 million. Several major international companies have expressed interest to use Piraeus as a gateway to South East and Central Europe. Railway Corridor X awaits the potential demand inadequately equipped. In the competition with the Corridor IV and the trucking companies, it will be increasingly difficult to attract new rail freight. Plagued by the poor infrastructure and long border-crossing procedures, the corridor is in dire need of investments and better policies.
The paper analyzes 1) the state of infrastructure of the railway corridors IV and X, as well as future infrastructure investments on both corridors, 2) future economic and trade projections, and 3) development plans of the Asian shipping and exporting companies. Based on these projections, several scenarios are developed to assess the future trends and traffic volumes on the major road, rail and maritime routes in South, East and Central Europe.
The author analyzes several investment strategies needed for Corridor X to increase competitiveness and attract the growing traffic. The results show that the investments in infrastructure alone will not be sufficient to redistribute the traffic from Corridor IV and the trucking companies. The region needs better governance and implementation of smart operations procedures. Several "soft" measures are proposed that could reduce travel times and increase the competitiveness of Corridor X.

Publisher

Association for European Transport