The upgrading of the infrastructure in the port of Thessaloniki is the key to the development of Shipping and Logistics in Northern Greece. This was emphasized by the speakers of the “Role of Shipping and Logistics in Northern Greece” section of the first international conference, Southeast Europe Connectivity Forum (SECF), which ended today, November 1, 2023, at the Makedonia Palace Hotel in Thessaloniki, under the auspices of Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy, the Hellenic Logistics Company and the Hellenic Exporters Association.
“In ALTH S.A. our vision is to be more than a port. To be the leading provider of intermodal network, multi-gateway and supply chain solutions for the Balkans and the wider South East, Central and Eastern Europe region. We seek to actively contribute to the development of the Greek port industry and the creation of significant added value for the economy and society. Our strategic planning focuses on expanding the port’s connectivity and hinterland, as well as leveraging combined transport solutions,” said Irini Hadiari, Member of the Board of Directors. of OLTH S.A.
Mrs. Hadiari focused on investments in infrastructures launched by the company, emphasizing the expansion of the 6th Jetty, a project with a budget of 150 million euros, which will increase the capacity and the commercial activity of THRTH, providing the possibility of directly servicing mainline container ships (up to 24,000 TEU) and will strengthen the leading role of the Port of Thessaloniki in the country’s extroversion.
He emphasized that during its ten-year period of operation Pier 6 is expected to generate annual revenue of 272 million euros in the entire supply chain of the port, to support the revenue of the State with more than 55 million euros per year, to create added value that exceeds 177 million euros per year and directly or indirectly support the creation of more than 4,000 jobs.
Mrs. Hadiari also pointed out that the goal is the further development of the connectivity of the Port of Thessaloniki with the countries of the wider Balkan region and South-Eastern Europe, as well as the expansion of OLTH S.A. in combined transport, noting that there is already a direct rail connection of the Port of Thessaloniki with Bulgaria (Sofia), Serbia (Nis) and the Republic of North Macedonia (Skopje). Also, the creation of a network of Dry Ports in the countries of Southeast and Central Europe, but also the transformation of the port into a smart port with the application of modern digital solutions and technologies.
Vanda Kostopoulou, Vice President of Arkas Logistics Greece and Serbia and shareholder in Arkas Hellas Group, also made the development of the infrastructure in the port of Thessaloniki a priority. “The company has invested heavily in major markets such as China, America and India. She is very interested in the part of the Balkans and SE Europe. Arkas Logistics Greece has developed its own road network from Thessaloniki to Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary with its own logistics. A basic condition, however, is the development of the railway and maritime axis to these countries. In order to be able to achieve this, it is necessary to finish all investments in the port of Thessaloniki, which will be able to host large containers, which will be able to have routes to these countries”, he emphasized. He also noted that a basic condition is also technology, which develops productivity and efficiency, leading at the same time to a friendlier environment.
Zoi Koletsa, Director of the Thessaloniki Office of CMA CGM Greece, focused on solving the issues related to the infrastructure, as well as the services offered by the port. He described the infrastructure of the Port of Thessaloniki as very important, calling the expansion of the 6th Wharf the number one priority, as it will bring larger ships, which means that productivity will increase for the port, but also for the companies themselves. He also characterized combined transport as very important for companies in the sector, noting that it must be easy to transport goods to and from the port, which means roads and gates, issues that have been a problem in recent years, but also the development of the railway network and its connection to Nis, Sofia and Skopje. Mrs. Koletsa also referred to the customs procedures that need to be simplified, because they create problems and underlined that cooperation with neighboring countries is the best possible way for the development of the port of Thessaloniki.
The historical role of the port of Thessaloniki in transporting products to all the cities of the Balkans and South-Eastern Europe, which has been upgraded due to the instability in the wider region, with the war in Ukraine, the flare-up in the Middle East and the revisionism of Turkey, emphasized Katerina Tsapikidou, Embassy Counselor and Director of the International Relations service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thessaloniki.
“Under these conditions, Greece in general, but also Thessaloniki in particular with its port, are a pole of stability, they can safely supply the countries of the Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe with energy and products. In this sense, the port is not only a hub of stability, but also an opportunity to contribute positively to the major issues that have arisen in recent years in the region,” he said.
Mrs. Tsapikidou stated that in recent years Greece has created cooperation networks, tripartite schemes, military agreements and commercial agreements with a number of states, such as Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, as well as recently India and added that in order for these ambitious but realistic plans to be implemented and to really contribute to the stability of the wider region, the port of Thessaloniki should be used in a meaningful way.