Taranto will be the transportation terminal from the Balkan region

February, 04 2004

Taranto port stands as candidate to be the terminal of the sea highway "Egnatia", whose building is almost complete. It will link the southeast area of Europe to Greece and Balkan region. Taranto Port Authority has made this proposal, in order to come out of the deadlock which has been created with the postponement of Corridor N°. 8 to the year 2020. Its function is that of linking the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea, crossing Albany, Macedonia and Bulgaria. But its construction is not in the list of the priority infrastructural works of UE. This postponement has created deep disappointments above all in Puglia. The President of TPA, Sandro Petriccione, says that "the UE enlargement, the growing role of the Mediterranean Sea in maritime traffic, the commercial and economic evolution of the North of Africa, impose to find some alternatives to Corridor N°. 8. The "Via Egnatia" is a 680 km long sea highway, which goes from Igoumenitza to Instambul, following the ancient Roman way. 355 km of this highway have already been completed. If the works proceed according to the planned projects, they should finish within two years, with a final investment of € 3.400.000.000,00. Only in that period will be possible to cover the distance that separates the two cities in 6 hours instead of current 18 hours and reach a vast area including Greece, Turkey, Romania and Albany, a market of 110 millions of inhabitants. Hence, the Italian interests are very clear, and Mr Petriccione sustains that Taranto represents the most suitable terminal, " since, on the Italian side, it is the major port which offers the services of goods transportation and industrial transportation, with 34,318 millions of tones handled from January to November 2003. Furthermore, it is one of the principal hubs in the Mediterranean Sea