Albania Special: On a voyage of success
Updated: 2012-01-09 08:00
The largest port in Albania, Durrs Port plays a key role in the development of Albania and the region.
Around 90 percent of the Albanian's maritime transport passes through the 80-hectare port every year, and it is growing at a yearly average of 5-6 percent.
Within the last five years, Durrs Port has gained in stability and undergone many important legal and structural transformations. Having shifted from a government to a private entity, it has been able to bolster both its infrastructure and superstructure. And, having implemented European policies and procedures, it has eliminated security problems, and is now on a very successful path.
When InFocus Reports spoke to Eduard Ndreu, general director of Durrs Port Authority, he was understandably upbeat, particularly with Albania's plan to join the European Union.
"The port authority is looking forward to all of the positive changes that will occur in Albania as a result of its EU candidacy. In the meantime, we are implementing a variety of changes that will improve our operations: thanks to our private operators, the port is both more flexible and more efficient.
"This makes us attractive and competitive, and sets us apart from others nearby. By the end of next year, we hope to be done entirely with the privatization of all terminals. I remain convinced that this procedure will have a positive impact on our operations."
All procedures are being processed through a tendering process and the port authority is targeting open international tenders, Ndreu explained.
"The container terminal will be managed by a Turkish company and all other terminals will be in the privatization process by the end of the year. In adherence with our concessions law, all these procedures will go through the Ministry of Transportation.
"The port authority will focus on infrastructure and guaranteeing security and regulation, while delegating management of port-activity related operations to private companies."
Plans are afoot to deepen the entrance channel within the coming year. The port will be dredged by 11.5 meters and the quays restructured as part of the 15 million euros project. When that is done, the port will be able to handle ships of between 30 and 40,000 tons.
"Most Albanian minerals go directly to China through this port. Our dredging and infrastructure projects are therefore targeted to lower the cost of transporting goods," the port chief said. "Six years ago, ships transporting coal and other such minerals stayed in the port around 10 days. Now they are out within 24 hours.
Security is guaranteed to high levels, performance is very high and our tariffs are competitive.
"Albania is an open country for foreign investment and the port authority would be very happy for any Chinese company to take part in the operations here."