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Opinion / Editorial

Durrës-Prishtina railway: a dream towards reality?

Durrës-Prishtina railway: a dream towards reality?

A week ago, on July 6, 2022, the government of Kosovo approved the Draft Law for the Ratification of the Co-financing Agreement for the Feasibility Study and Project-Idea for the Durrës-Prishtina Railway Link. The purpose of the agreement was to determine the procedures and share the costs between the parties, for the financing of the Feasibility Study of the Durres-Prishtina Railway, in implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Albania and the Government of the Republic of Kosovo. Both Kosovo and Albania have agreed to spend 1 million euros each for the feasibility study of the railway. The feasibility project will also include the Land Port of containers in Pristina, which in technical language is called "dry port". Meanwhile, according to INSTAT, in the five-month period January-May 2022, we exported 16 percent more goods to the Kosovar market, compared to the same period a year ago. We exported 132 million euros of goods, compared to 114 million euros in January-May 2021. This double-digit growth is very promising. The potential of Albania-Kosovo trade and investment is many times higher than today's commercial and economic exchanges between our two countries. With the railway, Albania-Kosovo exports and imports will be able to double within a very short time. The new port of Durres in Porto Romano will be integrated with the Durres-Prishtina railway project and the container port in Pristina. This integration is expected to turn Durrës into one of the strategic gateways of the Mediterranean economy. The opinion of the Dutch company "Royal Haskoning DHV", which is dealing with the feasibility study, is that both the port in Porto Romano and the "dry" (container) port of Pristina will be operational in 2025. This is a real time, if both governments, like that of Tirana and Pristina, will act strongly to find the right financing. The Durrës-Prishtina port was promised several years ago by our German partners, within the framework of the Berlin Process. The container port in Pristina is expected to handle up to 100,000 containers per year, while the sea port of Porto Romano will welcome 1 million travelers per year, as well as process in its 400 ha about 2 million containers with about 50 million our goods. The Durrës-Prishtina railway connects the tons of goods of the port of Durres with their delivery at the lowest possible cost and in real time to Pristina. It also has geopolitical importance, not only economic. With the new port in Porto Romano and the Durrës-Pristina railway, Albania and Kosovo aim to become part of the corridors within the Balkans, but also part of the corridors that connect both countries with Western Europe. And railways are the most economical and environmentally friendly mode of transport. With the Durrës-Prishtina railway, the volume of commercial goods exchanged between Albania and Kosovo is expected to double within six months! The port that will be built in Porto Romano is one of the most modern projects in the Mediterranean area. It will have a very big impact on the development of trade. The Durrës-Prishtina railway line, in addition to fulfilling a dream in the historical sense of the Albanians, will play an important role towards the union and economic development of the two countries. Durres port, moved to Porto Romano, it will be developed as a cargo port, mainly destined for Pristina and Skopje. Through the line with Pristina, this port will have direct communication with Corridor 10, and through Pristina, but also Skopje, it will connect with Sofia, with Istanbul towards Asia and in the north with Belgrade. The Durrës-Prishtina railway will not only enable the rapid transport of passengers and goods, first between Albania and Kosovo and further to other countries of the Western Balkans, but will increase the volume of commercial exchanges between Albania and Kosovo by 30 percent. North Macedonia-Bulgaria only in the first year of its operation. this port will have direct communication with Corridor 10, and through Pristina, but also Skopje, it will be connected to Sofia, to Istanbul towards Asia and to the north with Belgrade. The Durrës-Prishtina railway will not only enable the rapid transport of passengers and goods, first between Albania and Kosovo and further to other countries of the Western Balkans, but will increase the volume of commercial exchanges between Albania and Kosovo by 30 percent. North Macedonia-Bulgaria only in the first year of its operation. this port will have direct communication with Corridor 10, and through Pristina, but also Skopje, it will be connected to Sofia, to Istanbul towards Asia and to the north with Belgrade. The Durrës-Prishtina railway will not only enable the rapid transport of passengers and goods, first between Albania and Kosovo and further to other countries of the Western Balkans, but will increase the volume of commercial exchanges between Albania and Kosovo by 30 percent. North Macedonia-Bulgaria only in the first year of its operation.