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Bulgaria is the most dynamic customer of the port of Thessaloniki

31 October 2013 / 11:10:58  GRReporter
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Polina Spartyanova
    Bulgaria is the fastest growing customer of the port of Thessaloniki. The flow of cargo containers to and from the country has increased nearly two-fold, from 9,068 to 16,030 containers, as compared to 2010. This trend is continuing in 2013 since the container traffic for the period from January to August increased by 29% in comparison with the same period last year. However, the data are still far from the record 2007 when the Greek northern port had processed more than 35,500 containers for Bulgaria.
    Bulgarian transporting companies hold a large share of road transportation through the port of Thessaloniki and Bulgarian forwarders are developing close links with the local shipping lines, shipping agents, freight forwarders and other business representatives. In order for the port of Thessaloniki to support and facilitate its links with the Bulgarian entrepreneurs and companies its board of directors has decided to open its office in Sofia, which will start operating on Monday, 4 November.

    Thessaloniki Port Authority SA’s president and CEO Stylianos Aggeloudis announced all this during a presentation of its activities to Bulgarian and Greek businessmen in Sofia. He described the port as "one of the most reliable links in the Balkans", as the volume of transit cargo passing through it is increasing, and he did not fail to boast about the achievements of the port of Thessaloniki related to the modernization of the equipment and to the renovation of the entire fleet over the past few years.
    Nevertheless, despite the huge investments amounting to 20 million euro, the price policy for the loading and unloading activities at the port has not changed over the past four years. Stylianos Aggeloudis promised that the prices of the second largest Greek port would remain the same in 2014 too. He paid particular attention to the workflow in Thessaloniki Port Authority SA since, so far, the port has not lost a single working hour due to a strike by its workers, the reason for this being the mutual trust between both sides.
    The port of Thessaloniki is the second largest in Greece. In 2001, through a public-private partnership, it signed a concession contract for a period of 50 years. The Greek state holds 74% of the capital in the joint venture whereas private investors own the rest. The port has nine piers and several terminals for bulk cargos and containers but the main problem is that it cannot serve large vessels. It also has a free trade zone. Its turnover in 2012 was 52.8 million euro and the shares of the port’s operator are listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.
    The only unsolved issue remains the provision of combined transport from the port and its connection with the railway network, as stated by Aggeloudis. He urged the business to exert pressure on the Bulgarian authorities to develop this connection on Bulgarian territory. According to Aggeloudis, the port aims at expanding its markets towards Russia and the Ukraine through the Bulgarian ports on the Black Sea and towards Central Europe through the ports on the Danube River. Currently the port of Thessaloniki is serving markets within a distance of up to 800 km and this territory is inhabited by 15 million people.
    The presentation of the port of Thessaloniki was attended by Ambassador of Greece in Sofia Dimostenis Stoidis who paid special attention to the key geographical location of the port of Thessaloniki and its well-maintained infrastructure. According to the Greek Ambassador, the development of the bilateral economic relations between Bulgaria and Greece largely depends on the growth of their road networks and the planned expansion of the port of Thessaloniki. Dimostenis Stoidis expressed hope that, due to the Bulgarian-Greek trade relations, the region would more easily cope with the economic crisis and stagnation. He gave the example of the Greek business presence in Bulgaria which, according to the latest data, has created over 40,000 jobs in the region and its turnover amounts to about 2-3 billion euro.

Tags: Thessaloniki Port Authority SAPort of ThessalonikiTransport connections with BulgariaRepresentative office in Sofia
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