Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

The Port of Patras will be linked to the Greek railway network by 2020

Written by Angélique Kourounis et Thomas Iacobi, in ATHENS on Friday, April 24th 2015 à 09:14 | Read 2735 times



Athens aims to open up the country via modernisation of its ports and road and railway networks. Priority will be given to infrastructures connecting ro-ro services to railway lines and the Port of Patras should be the first to benefit by 2020.

Piraeus port (photo CC- EDrost88 via Flickr)
Piraeus port (photo CC- EDrost88 via Flickr)
GREECE. Since Greece’s entry into the European Union in 1981, the country has received no less than €68 billion for the modernisation of both public and private sectors. “These funds were intended to allow Eurozone periphery countries such as Greece to reach the same level of infrastructure development as countries in Northern Europe,” explains Professor Athanassios Papadaskalopoulos, President of the Institute of Regional Development in Athens.

This cornucopia funded the development of 13 regions in Greece over three decades as well as all the country’s major infrastructure projects (bridges, roads, motorways, airports and ports, tunnels, dams and aqueducts). Infrastructures connected to ro-ro services are currently being prioritised in an effort to open up the country. Greece will receive additional funding of over €26 billion over the next five years, including €21 billion from EU funds and €6 billion from the Greek government.

Patras City Hall demands a tunnel

The Hellenic Railways (Photo OSE)
The Hellenic Railways (Photo OSE)
According to the Development Planning Director at OSE (Hellenic Railways) Grigoris Sabatakakis, “Patras will be the only port equipped with the necessary infrastructures for ro-ro services after 2018.” The railway line already extends to the station of Kiato halfway between Athens and Patras. The section between Kiato and Rododafni is currently under construction.

Ergose, a subsidiary of OSE, is overseeing the project. The only section left to build is between Rododaphni and Patras. The railway will cross the city of Patras and join the tram network before arriving at the port, where ferries depart for northern Greece and Europe via the Italian ports of Venice, Ancona, Brindisi and Bari.
The only obstacle is the new municipal council, which has objected on the grounds that the city will be “disfigured by rails”. The council is demanding a tunnel at an estimated cost of €700 million. “The government doesn’t have the money at the moment,” regrets Grigoris Sabatakakis, who is hoping for a speedy resolution to the stalemate. Christos Loutsarakos, who is responsible for the project linking the port to the railway network, believes that Patras will not be ready before 2020. However, once everything is completed, the port of Patras will be able to welcome 970,000 passengers and 165,000 passenger cars every year. 5.3 million tonnes of freight will also pass through the port on lorries, with 525,000 tonnes transported to and from the port by train.

The next port to be connected to the railway network via ro-ro services will be Alexandroupoli in the northern region of Thrace, a few dozen kilometres from the Turkish and Bulgarian borders. The ports of Thessaloniki, Ikonio and Igoumenitsa will follow, despite the fact that the latter near the Albanian border currently has no rail connection.

The port of Kavala in the region of Macedonia in northern Greece is a second option. The city, which is close to the Bulgarian and Macedonian borders (former Yugoslav Region of Macedonia – FYROM), is not yet connected to the rail network. However, all these ports already have access to the road network, which is constantly being improved. The Egnatia motorway extends from east to west from the port of Igoumenitsa to the Turkish border. The motorway from Piraeus to the Macedonian (FYROM) border runs north to south through the port of Thessaloniki. Just one section at the entrance to the city remains unfinished.

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