BUSINESS

Why the Americans are so keen on the port of Alexandroupoli

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Privatizations, Defense

After appointing new administrations to the port authorities of Volos, Kavala, Igoumenitsa and Corfu, state sell-off fund TAIPED is expected to decide by end-October on the utilization of another 10 regional ports, including Alexandroupoli.

However, the utilization of the Port Authority of Alexandroupoli, which had been scheduled to be privatized first, is expected to be put on ice following the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement between Greece and the US that provides for the partial use of the port’s infrastructure by American defense forces.

The US is interested in the port of Alexandroupoli for both energy and military reasons, especially after the privatization of the Thessaloniki Port Authority. The Thracian port offers access to maritime, road, rail and air transport. It is located at a point that is now directly linked to Egnatia Odos – the highway that runs across northern Greece – and the railway line to Thessaloniki and to the borders with Turkey and Bulgaria. It is also near the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the route of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), both of which will transport natural gas upon completion.

A railway connection was recently launched between the new container terminal at Alexandroupoli port and the national rail network, allowing for connection with Balkan states and countries on the Black Sea and providing the option of combined transport (train and ship).

Alexandroupoli is also the focus of plans to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) quantities into the Balkans through the planned construction of an offshore LNG gasification station by US and Greek business interests.

Online