The rail route through Idomeni in northern Greece has remained blocked by protesting refugees and immigrants for two weeks now, without any sign that they will disperse anytime soon. Transport companies sent a letter on Wednesday to the prime minister’s office and a number of ministries explaining that the damage they are suffering is huge.
“The losses for everyone involved, such as Trainose, forwarding companies, industries and traders, are countless and the injury to the credibility of the Greek commercial corridor is huge,” they wrote in their letter.
“Certain clients have clauses in their contracts based on which they are now seeking damages amounting to hundreds of thousands of euros,” the letter added, asking for “an intervention toward the immediate solution of the problem.”
Hundreds of freight cars are lined up in long queues on both sides of Greece’s border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, loaded with Greek and international producers’ and traders’ products and raw materials, with the financial cost to them growing by the day as hundreds of companies are still waiting for their delivery.
The rerouting of trains via Bulgaria entails an extra cost of 3,000-4,000 euros per trip for each of the 40 cross-border cargo train services operating every month. When adding the return, this means an extra cost of 6,000-8,000 euros, as leading freight forwarding company officials explained to Kathimerini. There is also the issue of the extra one-and-a-half to two days required for the rerouted trains to reach their destination via Bulgaria.